Our Tips & Tricks on Making the Most of Your Next Blueberry Picking Adventure
Summer is packed full of so many fun activities like making a splash in the pool, kayaking through coastal waterways, boat rides into the sunset and overall just getting to enjoy the great outdoors! For us locals, one activity that really kicks off the summer season is blueberry picking. It might be us but blueberries just seem to taste so much sweeter when you pick them yourself! If you’ve never been picking before, here are some helpful tips & tricks to make your first picking adventure fun and tasty!
BYOB – bring your own bucket! Whether you are at a patch in someone’s backyard or a blueberry farm, you’ll need a way to get all those berries home so be sure to bring a container big enough for plenty of berries!
It’s HOT y’all! Summer heat can really get to you if you’re not used to it or careful of how you handle it. We definitely recommend picking earlier in the mornings or late evenings when it’s not so hot. Blueberries grow best in full sun so wherever you’re picking will definitely be a sunny spot. Slather on some sunscreen, wear a hat and keep a water bottle handy!
Since berry picking is an outdoor activity you are sure to run into some bugs. Anything that grows will attract bugs and potentially other animals so be on the lookout. Bug spray, closed-toe shoes and long pants will definitely help with those biting pests. Be sure to keep an eye out for snakes! They often hide out under bushes waiting for a bird or squirrel to come looking for a sweet treat.
We’ve mentioned hats, long pants and closed-toe shoes as attire suggestions but also make sure anything you wear is something you don’t mind potentially getting stained. Georgia blueberries get their sweetness from all the juice in them so you’re likely to walk away with stained fingers and possibly stained clothes. Bust out the old t-shirts and jeans you would wear for yard work so you can pick berries worry free!
Now for the picking! Be sure to look all over the bush for berries, not just eye level. Blueberries love the sun so you’ll find plenty higher up on the bush but you’ll also find plenty on the lower branches that others have missed. Ripe berries will roll right off the branch so if you roll the berries between your thumb and palm, the ripe ones should fall right off.
Blueberries are great fresh but are easily frozen for later use. Find a shallow container for storing your fresh berries and wait to wash them until you’re going to use them. If you plan on freezing them, wash the berries and spread them over a tray to dry completely before putting into bags for the freezer. Allowing them to dry completely before freezing will make sure they don’t stick together once they do freeze.
Looking for a place to pick your own blueberries here in Liberty County? Head out to Midway and you’ll find Brewer’s Christmas Tree & Blueberry Farm. They have requested this year that you call ahead of time and make an appointment to pick as they have limited availability. You can reach them at (912)884-5292.
Now for the hardest part of having fresh blueberries, which recipes to make with them! Smoothies, cobbler, scones, pancakes…the possibilities are endless! A favorite for our office is using them to make muffins so we decided to share our favorite blueberry muffin recipe. Enjoy!!
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 vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/3 – 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 to 8 ounces fresh or frozen blueberries; see note below about frozen berries (about 1 cup)
- Preheat oven to 400º F
- In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt,
- Use a measuring cup that holds at least 1 cup and add vegetable oil, egg and then fill the cup to the 1-cup line with milk (about 1/3 to a 1/2 cup of milk).
- Add vanilla and whisk until combined.
- Add milk mixture to the bowl with flour and sugar then use a fork to combine. Do not over mix. (The muffin batter will be pretty thick).
- Add blueberries and use a spatula or spoon to gently fold the blueberries into the muffin batter.
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups filling about ½ full.
- Sprinkle a little sugar on top of each muffin.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes