berry picking

berry picking

berry picking 13

We are very lucky to live in a part of the country where a wide variety of summer fruits grow in abundance. A couple of years ago we planted some raspberry bushes in our yard, which we hope will someday be good producers. In the meantime, we have lots of local farms where berries are the main event, and some even let customers pick their own. Our little guy is very fond of berries so we thought it might be fun for him to have the experience of going berry-picking. We chose Monadnock Berries for its spectacular view of Mt. Monadnock, and we were not disappointed (with the view or the berries!). Picking berries with family and friends is a quintessential summer activity that should not be missed. Note: there was quite a bit of “sampling” of berries happening, as well—nothing compares to the flavor of blueberries right from the bush!

I picked over three pounds of blueberries in just under an hour, most of which I put in the freezer for later in the year when I want a taste of summer. Freezing berries is easy! Simply rinse berries in a collander, dry them lightly, and then spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze berries for a couple of hours, and then transfer them to quart-size ziplock bags and put them back in the freezer to store. If you want to use your berries right away, I highly recommend making blueberry crisp and then topping it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream—truly a summer treat that can’t be rivaled! Here’s a recipe I like to use (can be adapted to use with any type of berries, frozen or fresh):

Blueberry Crisp, adapted from a recipe by Williams-Sonoma

Ingredients:
4 cups berries
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup rolled oats

Directions:
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Grease a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish with butter, or spray with vegetable cooking spray. Spread the berries evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the lemon juice. In a bowl, using a pastry blender or fork, mix together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, butter and rolled oats until well combined. Sprinkle evenly over the berries. Bake until the top is golden and the berries are bubbling, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Serve hot or warm, with ice cream or whipped cream!

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