Wild Blueberry Crisp

Wild Blueberry Crisp | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

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:

(My husband Graham picking wild blueberries in Northern Minnesota)

(Maine wild blueberries from a road side stand)

Wild Blueberry Crisp:

5-6 cups wild blueberries (fresh or frozen)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar (more or less depending on the sweetness of your berries)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Crisp Topping:

1 cup white whole wheat flour (I’ve also made it with all-purpose and whole wheat)

1 cup rolled oats (not instant)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 stick butter, melted

To make the Berry Crisp:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a Baking Dish, set aside.

Place the berries in a large bowl, set aside.

Whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Sprinkle over the berries and toss together. Add the lemon juice and toss until well coated. Place in a baking dish.

Topping:

Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, spices and zest in a bowl. Add the melted butter and toss until it is all well combined.

Spread the topping over the blueberries.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the berries are bubbling vigorously all along the edges and the topping is golden brown.

Wild Blueberry Crisp | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or nothing but a spoon!

Also try my blueberry cobbler.

24 thoughts to “Wild Blueberry Crisp”

  1. Thanks for the secrecy, my friend! Wouldn’t want anyone knowing where I keep my secret stash…I guess you have now passed the test and can come NEXT year, during the peak of the season! 🙂
    It tasted absolutely wonderful! xo

  2. That looks really wonderful. Here in Sweden we have had a fabulous blueberry-year, and I have picked about 42 cups!
    This recipe will be tested for the weekend.

  3. It shows a lot of discipline that you ended up with enough to make a crisp with! The taste of fresh sun-warmed berries is so tempting that I usually come home with an empty basket and purple fingers.

  4. I don’t have access to wild blueberries here in Umbria. Heck, we barely saw fresh ones but for a week or two in the grocery store this summer, but I do have a bag of frozen blueberries that are just taking up space in my freezer. I think I just found a way to use them up, THANKS!

  5. This was my first year blueberry picking “Up North”. My sister in law has them growing in her backyard (the woods) along with wild raspberries. There were some animal tracks next to them so you know they tasty for eating.

  6. Oh I remember wild blueberry picking in northern Michigan. And my mother’s wild blueberry pie. It was the best. Your photo brought back many culinary memories!

  7. What a treat! I’ve never tried a wild blueberry.
    Last year in October I went crazy over picking blackberries at the sides of the road – it was me and the birds! No competition there which was surprising because they were so delicious.

  8. Hi Dragana,

    There were the remnants of picked off raspberries and blackberries up in Northern MN. If I time it just right, I may get all 3 next year?

    Zoë

  9. Is is possible to make this and not bake it right away – say for a day? I want to make it for someone, give it to her at work to take home to cook later. Would that work?

  10. Hi Megan,

    It is a great idea! You can definitely make it and refrigerate it to bake the next day or even freeze it for the future!

    What a lovely gift! Zoë

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