Friday, July 26, 2013

Blueberry Patch Forever

notice Mere's bare feet. She did start out in her crocs, as evident in subsequent pics...
I think this is an amazing picture, but it could just be me.=)
Sunday evening before bed, I picked up my book of Robert Frost poems. As I scanned the index looking for one to read, Blueberries jumped out at me. Rather apropo considering my intended actives this week.

It is actually a long poem. It took me over 5 minutes to read it aloud to Mr. Hippie. I enjoyed its light hearted feel. I can easily picture the scenes and people he is describing. The poem is a conversation between two people. It's great. If you have time, look up the whole poem. I only included a snippet here...
see all the berries on the bushes?!
32 pounds in 1-1/2 hours. I probably picked well over half of them...
"...blueberries big as the end of your thumb, real sky blue, and heavy..."

"You ought to have seen what I saw on my way 
To the village, through Mortenson's pasture to-day: 
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb, 
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum 
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come! 
And all ripe together, not some of them green 
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!" 

"I don't know what part of the pasture you mean." 

"You know where they cut off the woods--let me see-- 
It was two years ago--or no!--can it be 
No longer than that?--and the following fall 
The fire ran and burned it all up but the wall." 

"Why, there hasn't been time for the bushes to grow. 
That's always the way with the blueberries, though: 
There may not have been the ghost of a sign 
Of them anywhere under the shade of the pine, 
But get the pine out of the way, you may burn 
The pasture all over until not a fern 
Or grass-blade is left, not to mention a stick, 
And presto, they're up all around you as thick 
And hard to explain as a conjuror's trick." 

"It must be on charcoal they fatten their fruit. 
I taste in them sometimes the flavour of soot. 
And after all really they're ebony skinned: 
The blue's but a mist from the breath of the wind, 
A tarnish that goes at a touch of the hand, 
And less than the tan with which pickers are tanned."
-Robert Frost

Mere's did her part-she had quite a lot of berries-in all colors-green, blue, purple...
Frost goes on to describe a family that lives off the earth, and seems to think they own the wild blueberries. But, the speaker is going to sneak in early the next day to pick the berries before that family can get to them. He was going to pick them just to get the family riled up. It made me laugh. 

So, what do you do with 32 pounds of blueberries? Well, I put some in the freezer for winter. And I am making a batch of jam. When your kids live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch 365 days a year, a lot of jam gets eaten. I love the look of the blue blueberry jam sitting next to my jars of red strawberry and rhubarb jam. It is gorgeous. Home-making art.

You eat handful after handful of fresh berries until your eyes turn bluer than the bluest blueberry.

You also make blueberry pancakes and blueberry pies. And blueberry muffins and blueberry coffee cake. Which pairs perfectly with a nice cup of coffee, of course.

This is a recipe I have made for years and years. It has a very simple batter, that is topped with a streusel topping before baking. Can anyone say deliciousness?

Michigan Blueberry Coffee Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 cups fresh blueberries (can use frozen when fresh are out of season)
2 eggs
1 cup sour milk (2 Tbsp lemon juice in bottom of measuring cup, fill will milk, let curdle for 3-5 minutes)
1 stick margarine or butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add sour milk and butter, stirring well. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until not lumpy. Carefully stir in the blueberries. Place in a greased 9x13" pan.

Streusel Topping:
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix all together and spoon evenly over the batter in the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Happy weekend, friends! What do you have planned? Some blueberry coffeecake?