We went blueberry picking for the first time this summer. In the past, picking blueberries has been a fun but HOT endeavor, with the continually changing challenges of ever growing babies and toddlers and now preschoolers. This time, we went in the evening, on one of the hottest days so far this summer, which I thought was going to be a total disaster. I dressed us all in our lightest clothing, brought lots of water bottles, and hoped for the best.
And wouldn't you know it, the best happened! It was warm, quite warm, but there was shade, for the first time EVER, so picking wasn't terribly awful and even fun this time around! You see, picking blueberries, for me, is a complete labor of love. I don't actually like blueberries all that much, really. I mean, I can handle them in muffins and the occasional cobbler is alright, but I don't love them, really. On the other hand, the husband LOVES blueberries, as does Baby E and even, once in a while, J. So I go and pick buckets full (or half full depending on how tired I am) every summer and then freeze them and use them in dishes all year long.
Have you ever picked blueberries? It is VERY labor intensive. Blueberries, as you know, are tiny and grow in small bunches, with different levels of ripeness mixed in. It's fairly time consuming to pick them and virtually impossible for anyone younger than three to do so (believe me, we've tried). In over an hour, I picked almost, ALMOST a gallon of berries (I just couldn't quite fill my bucket all the way full, darn it), with the help of J, who picked a cupful in that same time. For my gallon, I paid $8. I know, I know, you are now calculating how much money you would spend if you bought a gallon of berries at the store, where they are only sold in pints. I know, I know, it's a TON of money! So you see, it's a FRUGAL labor of love, the very best kind!
Since then, we've had blueberries at most lunches, blueberry muffins with streusel topping, and assorted berries with whipped cream for dessert. The rest will go into the freezer to be pulled out at will for the next year. And yes, they do keep that long and are fabulous!