Blueberry Summer

We went up north to Lost Branch Blueberry Farm to (you guessed it) pick blueberries a few weeks ago.  They have delicious berries, and we really enjoy going.  We were able to go once a few years ago, and I just recently finished the berries we had frozen from that trip.  I was really glad that we were able to pick more!

We have great timing – we went up on what was predicted to be the hottest day of the year yet.  And it was pretty hot.  I picked until 6:30/7-ish, but most of our group had already stopped by that point.  I ended up burning BOTH my arms and my neck (so I was a regular redneck, ha ha).

The heat really wasn’t all that bad.  Once you had gone out there and gotten used to it, the heat didn’t bother you.  Or at least, it didn’t bother me.

We drove up with some friends of ours, and picked that afternoon/evening (I can’t remember a date – although it was a Tuesday).  That evening we had dinner with the P. family (sweet friends of ours), and then headed back to the lodge to turn in stay up way-too-late talking.  But it was fun.

The next morning, Meiling, Mom, and I went to pick some more while Noah and the friends we drove up with went swimming in the pond.  It was a very nice pond, I would have gone swimming in it, too, except for two things:

1.  I hadn’t brought a swimsuit, and I had no spare clothes to get dirty.

2.  I was there to pick.

We left Wednesday afternoon, having picked 41 pounds of berries.

When we got back that evening, the grand processing took place.  We started washing and freezing the berries, and deciding how many we were going to leave out for other purposes.  We froze all but two colanders-full, which would be used for some canning (blueberry syrup) and a pie.

That night Mom wanted me to use up some apricots that I had been planning to use in a crisp, but were aging on the counter instead.  I pulled up a recipe, and cut up the apricots, but I didn’t have enough for a whole batch.  Mom added a few tired peaches, but we still didn’t have enough.  I threw in a handful of blueberries and a few pitted cherries.  Mom tried some that night and said it was really good.  I can’t comment, because I made it gluten and grain-ful and didn’t eat any, but Noah liked it too, and I believe Drake did.

On this past Wednesday I canned four jars of what was supposed to be blueberry syrup, but I think it is really jam.  I made a pie the same day, which used up one colander of berries.  I am hoping to can some syrup that remains syrup with the remaining colander full.

 

Thanks for having us, Lost Branch Blueberry Farm!  It was a blast!

 

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The blues

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Pom juice on manager’s special at Kroger – got to love it!

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My berry bucket

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Wednesday morning – in the blueberry patch

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Walking back to the lodge – A harvested wheat feild

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The fruit mixture of my crisp

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Lots o’ berries

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The crisp topping

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Mom had gotten several pineapples on sale at the grocery store…

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…so we dehydrated several

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A blueberry rolled under the oven, and Lucy was trying to get at it.  Poor Lucy.

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Apricot-Peach-Blueberry-Cherry Crisp

Blueberry Muffin Larabars

Last night, when I was doing some recipe surfing, I came across a recipe for Blueberry Muffin Larabars.  I tried dried blueberries about six months ago, and was SO pleasantly surprised to find them delicious!  Something in the combination of dried blueberries, lemon zest, and vanilla (plus the normal nuts and dates) just sounded so appealing.  Mom purchased some dried blueberries while she was out today, so I was able to make some bars!

I LOVED the Blueberry Muffin bars.  In the post where I saw the original recipe, the author said that they tasted just like blueberry muffins.  I was a little skeptical, but now I would have to agree.  I would say that they taste good, but the very blueberry muffin flavor comes more as an aftertaste.  It was great!  I would have to admit that I like them even more than the chocolate Larabars I made.  I know, I know.  I was surprised, too. But they were awesome!

Blueberry Muffin Larabars – Makes 4 bars

Zest from one lemon
1 c. pitted dates
1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. walnuts
1/3 c. (really, one handful) dried blueberries
Sprinkle of salt (optional)
1 Tbsp. vanilla

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Place the lemon zest into a food processor (I zested my lemon right into the food processor).

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The dates…

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…and the nuts (I measure my nuts in a one cup measuring cup, filling it approximately halfway with one type of nut, then topping it off with the other type).

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Now throw in the blueberries. (I know my hand looks contorted.  I wasn’t in pain or anything.  Not sure why that happened.)

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Everything in the processor! (Add the salt now, if using.  I forgot and added mine much later.)  Now you want to close it up and start chopping (this will take a few minutes and be a little noisy).

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You want to add the vanilla while the processor is running.  Now you’ll see from this shot that I had a little trouble with this.  I was too busy thinking about the picture and what exposure and blah blah blah when suddenly I thought ,
“Hey, that vanilla looks like it isn’t going into the food processor.”
It wasn’t.  It was pouring down the outside.  Oops.  So I stopped and cleaned up a vanilla spill.

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Once I got everything all cleaned up, I started the food processor again, and added about a tablespoon of vanilla.

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Now it should look something like this.

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It may seem like it doesn’t want to come together, but if you squeeze and knead it, it will stick together.

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One big bar.  🙂  I divided it into fourths and formed each fourth into a regular sized bar.

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Now it is time to wrap the bars.  I wrap them individually in plastic wrap.  This is how I do it.  Place the bar in the middle of a smallish rectangle of wrap (about 5 inches wide).

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Fold over one side..

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.. and then the other (they don’t necessarily have to meet).

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Open one end like this..

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…fold it over the bar…

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…and wrap it underneath.

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Repeat with other side.

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The bars from this batch.

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Labels can be nice, especially if you have more than one kind of Larabar in the fridge.