I love to go blueberry picking. My mom has been going to the same pick-your-own blueberry farm in Tabernacle, New Jersey for almost 40 years, and I’ve been joining her for as long as I can remember. I’ve been out of the country for the past two years during blueberry season, though, and so this is the first time since the summer after my freshman year in college that I’ve been able to get out to the farm. The family that owned the farm sold the property to another farm next door, so while Conte’s isn’t called Conte’s anymore, it’s still maintaining the same beautiful berry bushes.
We normally end the afternoon with close to thirty pounds of blueberries between the two of us. This year, we decided to take it easy and picked just half of that amount. I’m certain that we could have picked more if we wanted to, but who has the freezer space? As it stands, I’ve been starting my mornings with fresh blueberries and trying to make the most of the hand-picked fruit in my last few weeks here.
I always loved the story Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosekey. A wayward little girl gets turned about while blueberry picking with Mom, and ends up following around Mama Bear for the afternoon. She spends the day eating two berries for each blueberry that she drops into her bucket – and I can definitely empathize with Sal, as I slow down significantly while I’m out picking in order to nibble on ripe berries while they’re still warm in the sun.
Once we get home, we normally freeze about half of all that we pick, and then give out bags to our neighbors and friends. We also come up with lots of ways to eat blueberries – fruit salads, pancakes, and muffins become exceptionally plentiful at this time of year. (Expect a few more recipes to get posted here, when I get a chance!) One of our go-to summer barbecue foods is blueberry muffins, using a variation on a Betty Crocker recipe from one of my Mom’s well-used cookbooks.
Blueberry Muffins Recipe
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 400*. Grease bottoms of 12 medium muffin cups (2 3/4 inches in diameter). Beat egg; stir in milk and oil. Mix in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened. Fold in 1 cup of fresh blueberries, or 3/4 cup frozen blueberries (drained and thawed). Batter should be lumpy. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan. Yields 12 muffins.
Pretty simple stuff, right? I love that these muffins are moist and versatile – they do well with crushed nuts mixed into the batter along with the blueberries, and if you’re a fan of crystallized ginger (blueberries and ginger are a heavenly pairing, in my opinion) you can also chop some up & toss it in for an extra bit of sweetness and flavor.