We went blueberry picking in Michigan on Saturday and came home with 16 lbs. of berries. Each year we've gone, I think we've picked roughly between 15-25 lbs. so I was satisfied. Our favorite way to pick blueberries is to make a day-long adventure out of it. We drive a couple hours to the farm in Michigan, pick blueberries, then drive a mile to a nearby state park to picnic and play at the lake the rest of the afternoon or evening. It's a great day. The beaches are so nice on the Michigan side of the lake. Our kids enjoyed all of it (notice our fearless beach baby above) except the cleaning up to come home part.
Now, what do I do with all those berries when we get home? Even though I've read before that you should freeze your berries as they are, I like to wash mine first. I rinse them and spread them ALL out on our table to dry. (I've done it both ways and only saw advantage in this method). This gives me a chance to pick out the little sticks and green or shriveled fruits that made their way into the buckets. When they dry, I pack most of them into quart-size freezer bags. When I use them throughout the year, I don't have to worry about rinsing them (I hate what that does to frozen fruit) or picking out the yucky bits. As for the remaining berries, I stick those in the fridge for immediate consumption and for use in unhealthy baked goods. Such as...blueberry pie and pound cake. These are two treats that I tend to make each time because I just like them that much. Then I always try to make something new. I'm not sure what that will be this year, but I better hurry! (Let me know if you have really tasty ways to use fresh blueberries.)
This pie is made with the same recipe as our strawberry pie, you just substitute the type of fruit and the flavor/color of jello. I tend not to like baked blueberry pies and cobblers as much as I like this cold one. I don't know why. I like blueberries cooked in sauces and cakes.
Like this pound cake. We usually eat this plain, but I've also made it for a 4th of July picnic and served it with mashed strawberries and whipped cream.
Blueberry Pound Cake
1 c butter, softened
2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 c flour, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 pint blueberries ( 2 to 2 1/2 cups)
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Sift 2 cups flour with baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture and beat. Dredge blueberries in remaining 1 cup flour. Fold berries and flour into batter. Pour into a buttered and sugared bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
(I have no idea where this recipe came from.)
For pick-your-own fruit farms, see the strawberry pie recipe post linked to above.
If you live near us (Chicago), we can personally recommend these locations: Tammen Treeberry Farm (in Wilmington, IL) and The Blueberry Patch (in Sawyer, MI).