This has been the summer of wild blueberries. First on my trip to Maine in August and then in the Northern most reaches of Minnesota just this past weekend. Maine is certainly known for their abundance of wild (or low bush) blueberries. In fact, they produce about 25% of all that are consumed in America. We couldn’t drive a mile without seeing a stand selling baskets of the little blue beauties or jams, pies and other treats made with them. All of which we stopped and tried. Research!
Minnesota’s crops of wild blueberries are a virtual secret. Really, neighbors and best friends don’t even share their favorite picking spots with each other. A friend of mine once told me her mother would disown her if she shared the location of her blueberry patch with me. She wasn’t kidding. On a recent trip to a friend’s cabin (she must remain nameless lest her neighbors happen to read this) she took me berry picking. Yes, we are that good of friends. We drove along a stretch of two lane highway, then down a dirt road for forever and parked on the side of the road where we walked a mile deeper along a path. At the end of the journey was an opening and the entire floor of the forest in this clearing was carpeted in crimson leaves of the blueberry bushes. The clearing had signs of forest fire, which it turns out promotes the growth of the wild berries. We got the very last pick of the season; it was a bit of work to find enough berries to make this crisp, but we were determined. Just two weeks earlier my friend had been to this same spot and picked a bounty. I could see the potential. I wait with bated breath for next year and will beg an invitation during the heart of the season.
When we returned to her cabin I made this crisp: (more…)