Friday, July 27, 2012

Dear Blueberries


Dear Blueberries,

You are as summer as pies get.  And jams.  And pancakes.

On our way home from our Michigan trip, we stopped at a blueberry farm to pick blueberries.  It was exciting.  It was our first time.  It was 90+ degrees.

I had been so sick of applying sunscreen that I opted to wear a long sleeve white linen shirt instead.  In 90+ degrees.

We got three buckets and started our way down the first lane.  The kiddos got busy picking.  Dear Husband and I got busy--photographing.  DH snapped away at the kiddos picking blueberries for the first time, while I got busy snapping photos for bloggy matters.

We were so efficient at picking blueberries that we were done going down one lane and coming back the second.  We were so fast at picking blueberries that we were done in fifteen minutes.  We were so good at picking blueberries that we only had to pay all of $1.82 for the berries we picked.  We took our prized little baggy of blueberries and our sweat-drenched bodies and bright pink cheeks into our car, drove down the block to the farm store, and bought a ten pound box of blueberries.  Fresh-picked.  By some awesome machine.

Ten whole pounds of blueberries became my treasured ingredient.  I had grand plans for them!  I froze some for later, gave some away, and had enough leftover to eat and bake.  First, I made blueberry pancakes by just popping a few onto the bubbling batter on the griddle.  They made ordinary pancakes burst with summer flavor.

Next, I wanted to makes some blueberry jam.  But because I don't know how to properly can/jar foods, nor do I have the equipment to do so, I decided to find an easy recipe to bypass all that.  This is the very simple recipe I used for making Easy Blueberry Jam:

Ingredients:
  • 5 cups fresh blueberries, picked over, washed
  • 3/4 cups sugar (adjust to your own likings--I've seen from 1/2 cup to 2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan.  Mash to release juices.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat until bubbling, and lower heat to prevent splattering, while stiring the entire time.
  3. Cook and stir for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.  
  4. Pour into clean jars. 
(Makes about 2 1/2 cups.  Refrigerate for up to one month.)

This recipe was adapted from Real Simple's Blueberry Jam.  I made two jars: one to keep and one to gift.  It is super easy and really delicious.

Finally, I had to get ready for baking my blueberry pie.  You see, I make pies only twice a year.  A blueberry pie in the summer and an apple pie for Thanksgiving.  (But I'm working on adding a peach pie in there at some point.)  I had gotten two pie-making tools that I could not wait to use: a pie ring (that keeps the pie edge from burning while baking) and a pastry cutter (for making the flaky pie crust).  I used to manually fold aluminum foil to cover the edge (which burned my fingertips), and cut the butter into the flour with forks (which took a very long time).  This time, I was all ready to make my Summer Blueberry Pie!

I swear by The Joy of Cooking for classic recipes.  And they never fail me.  As you know, the crust is what makes a pie, so a lot of love (and arm muscles) went into it.  Also, I always use my wax paper trick for making pie crusts and cut-out cookies, and it works superbly (if you are hesitant to make pie crust or have a hard time rolling it out, read this tip.)  The pie is unbelievably good.  The crust is flaky and crunchy, and complemented perfectly the sweet and juicy blueberries.  Each bite is a taste of summer's brilliant flavor and luscious texture.  A blueberry pie is fruitfully divine.

I hope you enjoy the slideshow of our Michigan blueberries and what they eventually morphed into:



So, Dear Blueberries, you are truly a delectable fruit for the summer.  Even though the pie is all gone, I still have jam to enjoy for a few more weeks.  You--shiny sapphire beauties, full of sweet nectar, bursting with berry essence, offering stickiness left on my lips and taste melded onto my tongue--are pearls of summer delight that I covet.  Because beauty is something as simple and as little as you.

Sincerely,
Me

12 comments:

  1. Mmm! The pancakes, the jam, the PIE...looks so yummy! I might even try making some of this jam someday. It looks really easy! Bon Appetite! :)

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    1. Yes! It IS really super easy! I'm totally one to avoid anything complicated, but easy has to be good, and it is really good! Thanks, Cassie!

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  2. I have a neighbor with a huge blueberry bush, who is generous enough to let me pick my fill. A pie or cobbler would be delicious.

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    1. That is so awesome! Blueberries are a treat for me since I consider them to be on the expensive side. I've never made a cobbler, and that does sound nice. Thanks for stopping by, Tara!

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  3. It all looks soooo delish!!

    I know you gave me that jam recipe via Instagram the other day and I should be doing it this weekend, as we are going to stop by the farm again hopefully this evening, as the ones we picked are GONE.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you pick enough blueberries today for some pie and jam! The recipe is super easy, and such a wonderful summery treat! Have fun, Kim!

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  4. Oh, I love picking blueberries. We had a farm in the suburb where I grew up and every summer it was such a thrill. I took my 6 year old a few years ago, but have yet to take my 2.5 year old. It's such a perfect summertime activity. Hmmm.... and nothing, truly, is better than blueberry everything.

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    1. Better late that never, right? This was my first time, and it was very exciting! This year I may even be able to make blueberry-something in colder weather since I have frozen ones in the freezer, yay! Thanks, Lucy!

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  5. Ooh, I just bought a couple 11 oz. containers of blueberries. That blueberry pie looks so good! I was actually thinking of making a blueberry peach cobbler. The only problem is, the oven heats up the house too much.

    I didn't know there was a such thing as a baking ring - I've always done the foil around the edge, like you did. I did it backwards, though: I put the foil on before I put it in the oven, then take it off about twenty minutes before the pie should be done.

    Thanks for the yummy post. I love blueberries, too :)

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    1. Janna, now why didn't I ever think of that? That's almost TOO logical for my brain, I guess. But the pie ring is great--no more foil that keeps falling off (at least for me). Blueberry peach cobbler sounds delicious--maybe on a not-so-hot day?

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  6. The jam recipe sounds good. I like blueberries as a jam... might give this a try. We go strawberry picking here once a year and make strawberry shortcake with them!!! :)

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    1. OoOoOoh, strawberry shortcake is so yummy! I haven't gone strawberry picking in so long! This is an easy enough recipe to try for the first time. I look forward to your cookie recipes!

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