The sun was shining…the humidity was down (both rare in this wettest June on record)…my son was at camp…and I decided to go blueberry pickin’. You may think of blueberries as being a crop of Maine or Michigan, but we have several pick-your-own farms here in Missouri too (maybe it’s an “M” state thing?). I wasn’t the only one with that idea—parking spots were at a premium, yet the field of bushes didn’t feel crowded. There were times that I couldn’t see anyone, but I could here snippets of conversation: folks who had filled their buckets debated where to eat lunch, some discussed where they’d finished picking cherries and strawberries and where they planned to pick apples and peaches, toddler Oliver insisted “I can still see you, Mama” when she warned him not to wander off. He was even carrying a little metal pail~~it was a real Blueberries for Sal moment (even more real considering there had been a black bear sighting last week)! But the only animal encounters today were with the farmer’s dog and rooster—which caused Oliver to squeal with delight.
I plan to try dehydrating some of my eight quarts of berries and will freeze the rest for breakfast smoothies or perhaps make a batch of Blueberry Spice Jam for Christmas presents.
Blueberry Spice Jam (Yield: 5 half-pints)
- 2-1/2 pints ripe blueberries
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5-1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 box (1-3/4 oz) powdered pectin
Wash and crush blueberries in a saucepan (it’s easier if you crush one layer at a time). Add lemon juice, cinnamon, and water. Stir in the pectin and bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring frequently. And the sugar and return to a full boil. Stir constantly for a full minute with a rolling boil. Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Fill sterile jars allowing 1/4” headspace. Adjust lids and can in a boiling water canner for your altitude:
0-1000 ft. ~~ 5 minutes
1001-6000 ft. ~~ 10 minutes
above 6000 ft. ~~ 15 minutes