|
|
|
Henrietta Post
  • Blueberries are ripe for the pickin’

  • It’s been a rough season for berries, considering a late frost, and recent bouts of high heat and dry weather. But blueberries are hanging in there just fine.

    • email print
  • Blueberry season generally kicks off around Fourth of July, but not this year. A warm spring hastened ripening, which means blueberries are ready for picking.
    “It’s just unbelievable, it’s the earliest season we’ve ever had,” said Gary Vogley, owner of Vogley Enterprises in East Sparta, Ohio. Vogley’s fruit stand and pick-your-own berry business opened two weeks ago.
    It’s the same situation at Dillon’s Fruit Farm in Lisbon, Ohio, and Wade’s Fruit Farm in Paris Township, Ohio.
    “We’re 2 1/2 weeks early here,” said John Wade, owner of Wade’s Fruit Farm.
    It’s been a rough season for berries, considering a late frost, and recent bouts of high heat and dry weather. But blueberries are hanging in there just fine.
    “We were lucky to have them,” Vogley said. “That frost back in May, I pumped (overhead irrigation) eight nights just to save them.”
    Recent bouts of high heat and dry weather mean some of the berries are not as plump as last year, but they are just as tasty, Wade promises.
    “We keep the bushes mulched. If we didn’t, they would have started to dry up already,” Wade said. “I don’t think the berries are as big as last year, but flavor-wise, they are just as excellent as ever.”
    The season should extend for another month, but everything depends on Mother Nature.
    “We need some rain real bad,” Wade said. “It’s hard to judge how long the season is going to last, but right now there are plenty to pick.”
    If your picking works up a sweat, cool off with some delicious blueberry beverages from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.
    BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE
    2 quarts fresh blueberries, or frozen blueberries, slightly thawed
    1 quart pineapple, orange, and strawberry juice blend or pineapple-orange juice
    1 quart lowfat vanilla yogurt:
    8 teaspoons sugar:
    For each serving: In the container of an electric blender, combine 1 cup (5 ounces) blueberries, 1/2 cup juice, 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Serve immediately in a tall glass garnished, if desired, with blueberry skewers spiraled with a thin strip of orange peel. Yields 8 servings.
    — U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.
    BLUTINI ROYALE
    2 ounces raspberry Stoli
    2 ounces vanilla Stoli
    1/2 ounce Chambord or Raspberry wine
    1/2 ounce blueberry puree
    Shake well, garnish with blueberries. Yields 1 serving.
    — From the former SQC eatery in New York City, for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.
    BLUEBERRY GRANITE
    4 cups fresh blueberries
    1 teaspoon lemon zest:
    2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice:
    1 cup sugar
    Page 2 of 2 - In a medium-sized saucepan, combine blueberries, lemon zest and 1 cup water. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until blueberries are very soft. Set a fine strainer over bowl. Strain mixture, pressing with the back of a large spoon.
    Stir lemon juice into puree. Chill in refrigerator.
    In a saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Chill in refrigerator. Stir sugar syrup into blueberry puree. Pour mixture into a shallow pan. Freeze blueberry mixture until ice crystals form around edges of pan, 45 to 60 minutes. With a fork, scrape the ice crystals from edges and stir into mixture. Freeze mixture until fully frozen, about 1 to 1- 1/2 hours, stirring several times. Serve in martini glasses. Garnish with crisp cookies and fresh blueberries, if desired. Yields 1 quart.
    — Chef Michael Moorhouse, Picholine, New York City, for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
      • calendar