Berry Picking

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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 are finally starting to become good producers. To supplement our own humble harvest we like to visit local farms where berries are the main event, and some even let customers pick their own. One of our favorite local operations is Monadnock Berries, especially for its spectacular view of Mt. Monadnock. Picking berries with family and friends is a quintessential summer activity that should not be missed. And, if you have space, try growing your own—nothing compares to the flavor of blueberries right from the bush!

Even with kids in tow, I can pick 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

4 c berries
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 c light brown sugar
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 stick butter
3/4 c rolled oats

1. Preheat an oven to 375° F. Grease a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish with butter, or spray with vegetable cooking spray.
2. Spread the berries evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the lemon juice.
3. 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.
4. Bake until the top is golden and the berries are bubbling, about 30 minutes.
5. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Serve hot or warm, with ice cream or whipped cream!

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