For us picking blueberries is always one of the first signs that summer is well and truly here. And this year was no different. Picking the first berries of the season and thinking about all of the yummy things you can make is all part & parcel of summer in the south. If you’ve never picked here are some tried & true tricks & tips to keep you safe & happy this picking season.
- It’s HOT! If you’re not used to a south Georgia summer, and even if you are, pick the time you go blueberry picking very carefully. Blueberries grow best in full sun, which means people picking berries will be in full sun! Either go first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening, not in the middle of the day. If you can only go during the hottest part of the day be sure to bring sunscreen, wear a hat and don’t forget that water bottle!
- It’s Georgia! There are bugs. Anything that grows attracts bugs and potentially animals so again beware! It will be buggier (if such a word exists) at dawn and dusk, so during the cool parts of the day, again plan accordingly. Bring bug spray & wear long pants to keep those pesky ankle biters away from your legs. Be careful for snakes too, they often wait under the bushes to catch unwary birds attempting to find an afternoon snack.
- Wear clothes that you don’t mind staining. Georgia blueberries are known to be rather juicy, which is one of the reasons they are so sweet, so in all likelihood you will end up with stained fingers and potentially stained clothes. Don’t wear those tennis whites and think you’ll come back unscathed!
- BYOB-bring your own bucket! Whether you are at a patch in someone’s backyard or a blueberry farm, you will need a way to transport your berries home. Trust me you can only hold your shirt up so high to cart the berries before indecency occurs.
- Remember to pick high and low! Most people pick what is right in front of them, so at eye level. Some of the best berries are actually inside the bush, closer to the trunk of the bush and really low to the ground or really high above your head where the sun can reach them.One last word of advice…ripe berries tend to just roll off, so if you roll the berries between your thumb and the palm of your hand, the ripe ones should easily fall off. To store fresh berries that you’re going to use soon it’s best to keep them in shallow containers so that they don’t get bruised and to not wash them until you are ready to use them. To freeze you want to wash, spread them on a tray to dry and then freeze them on the trays before putting them in bags. This keeps them from sticking.
Now with all of that in mind lol if you want to pick berries here in Liberty County, Brewer’s Christmas Tree & Blueberry Farm is ready for you! They have requested this year that you give them a call before coming to pick at the frost did damage some of their plants. www.brewerschristmastreefarm.com 912.884-5292
And one of our favorite recipes for blueberry muffins, which we tried out as soon as we got back to the office:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for muffin tops
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup neutral flavored oil; canola, vegetable and grape seed are great
1 large egg
1/3 – 1/2 cup milk; dairy and non-dairy both work
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 to 8 ounces fresh or frozen blueberries; see note below about frozen berries (about 1 cup)
Mix all together & bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
-Leah Poole, CEO of the Liberty County Chamber & CVB
The Right Blend Blog is written by two different authors employed by the Liberty County Chamber/CVB. As we are able, we rotate weeks and each write about our individual experiences, opinions and let our writing reflect our personalities and creativity. All content provided on The Right Blend blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.