Monday, August 10, 2015

10 Reasons Why I Love U-Pick Blueberries (recipes included)

1. Cheaper, duh! U-pick blueberries are one of the cheapest fruit you can buy except bananas! The farm I found was self-serve for only $1/lb, SCORE!
Blueberries at the store during peak season when they are on sale cost way more than that. For example, this week at Meijer they are on sale for 3 pints/$5. So we have to do some math
1 pint of blueberries = 3/4lb  
3 pints X 3/4lb = 1.5lb
1.5lb = $5
= $3.33/lb
Savings per lb=$2.33
Since I picked 42 lbs my total savings was 42 X $2.33= $98
if you want to be technical I need to subtract the cost of gas for driving 72 miles
so 72 miles at 25 mpg= 2.88 gallons X $2.44 = $7
$98-$7= total savings of $91 (and enough frozen blueberries for an entire year!)
2. They are delicious! enough said
3. You can talk directly to the farmer and find out how often they spray and when the last time they sprayed. The farm I found this year has not sprayed some of their berries in 60 days and other in 80 days! The farm I went to last year sprayed every other week :(
4. The feeling of accomplishment when you get done and you look at all of the berries you just picked.
My first picking= 34 lbs in 3 hours!
5. There’s just something about picking your own fruit right from the orchard...or maybe that is just me because I grew up on a farm and enjoy living off the land!

The biggest u-pick orchard I have ever seen!
6. It’s addictive. So much so that the second time I went picking this year my friend and I picked for an hour longer than we were supposed to and were late to the dinner party my friend was hosting, oops! You just can’t help but pick another berry because there are so many!
7. Having blueberries all year around! My son loves them right out of the freezer. They are kind of like mini popsicles!
8. Blueberries are one of the easiest fruits to freeze and use in your cooking because there is no peeling, pitting, coring, or cutting needed (like some of the other fruits I pick like strawberries, cherries, and pears). I wash my blueberries in a sink full of water with a splash of vinegar. Then I rinse really well and lay them out on a towel to dry before I placed them in quart size freezer bags.
9. You support local farmers while getting the freshest fruit possible.

10. The picking season is almost a month long so you go picking multiple times unlike some fruit like the organic cherries I picked this year which season was only 10 days (post to come about my experience with dehydrating cherries, yum!)
11. You can make yummy things like blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, and blueberry compote! See recipes below!

So where did I go picking this year you ask:
Schemenauer Farms
26980 CR 215
PO Box 147
Bangor, MI 49013-0147
269.214.0838 or 269-214-0837

and I loved it! The farmer yelled, “you’re a trooper” when he drove by the first time I went by myself when it was 95 degrees and the second time I went he came up to my friend and I and gave us a water bottle filled with fresh picked roses to take home. How awesome is that? He said next year he is going to try a spray free field but unfortunately he thinks he going to need to raise his prices :(

I have also read that Kendall Blueberries has naturally grown pesticide-free blueberries so I might try them next year.. I haven’t been able to get able of them but their voicemail states their prices are $1.25/lb.
Kendall’s Blueberries
Mon – Sun:  8:00 AM through 8:00 PM
2124 Coburn Road
Hastings, MI 49058

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes
Servings: 2 people
Modified recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie recipe

These are one of the easiest pancakes I have ever made and they are delicious especially when eaten with my homemade blueberry compote!
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup flour (ww pastry, white, spelt, or Bob’s gluten-free)
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats plus 4 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp sugar or 2 packet stevia
  • 2/3 cup milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (optional, only if soaking)
  • 1-2 tablespoons flaxmeal, optional
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then add wet. Mix, but don’t overmix. Cook on an oiled (or sprayed) pan, on low-medium, flipping each pancake once.  These take a little longer to cook than normal pancakes. Top with maple syrup, powdered sugar, or blueberry compote (my favorite!). We store our homemade blueberry compote in mason jars so we just put the jar on the skillet while we are cooking the pancakes to warm up the compote, yummmm, it is so delicious and way less sugar than straight maple syrup!
Soaking version:
Combine flour, oats, milk, and apple cider vinegar in a medium size bowl and place on the counter or in the oven with oven light ON but oven turned OFF overnight. In the morning add the remaining ingredients.

Blueberry Compote
This blueberry compote is an easy way to use less sugar by replacing straight maple syrup when eating pancakes. I’m sure it would also be delicious on vanilla ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, etc.
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
3 tablespoons water
¼ (or less) maple syrup, honey, or sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice, fresh or concentrate (this is key!)
Combine blueberries, water, sugar, lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 18 minutes.  Best served warm. Make extra and store in glass containers such as mason jars in the refrigerator or freezer (make sure to leave some headroom so you don’t break your glass when it expands. Reheat by placing glass container of compote right on the skillet or pan while cooking pancakes to save time and dishes or warm separately in a small saucepan.

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