One of the great things about living in Nova Scotia in the summer is the abundance of delicious and fresh local food being grown only an hour from the city. So when the boy and I were looking for something fun (as we are often wont to do) one sunny afternoon post-swim, we thought:
"We should go blueberry-picking!" (ok, so maybe we have a weird idea of what is fun, but what can I say, we're dorks at heart)
This is how we ended up at Blueberry Acres.
Blueberry Acres is a U-Pick blueberry farm in Centreville, NS. We arrived on Natal Day, late afternoon, unsure if they would even be open, but luckily we arrived to find the fields open for business!
The "Blueberry Express", aka an air-conditioned bus, picks you up at the main building and drops you off out in the field where a worker will choose an good area for you to pick from. This place is HUGE, so the bus makes it so much more convenient. We arrived early in the season so there were still quite a few bunches that were not quite ripe, but there were still enough blue, fat ones to fill our box.
I could not believe the SIZE of these babies! HUGE, just the way I like them (read into that what you may). I am surprised we even filled our box we ate so many in between picking (teehee). It was a super hot and sunny day, and it was actually nice to be there early in the season because it was not crowded at all. There were only a few other couples picking so it was very quiet and peaceful. Apparently if we had gone a couple of weeks later, there would have been 10 times the people!
When we got back and weighed our haul, it came to about 8 pints, which cost us $16. For those of you not good at math (I feel your pain) , that's approximately $2 a pint. For those of you who don't buy bb's in the grocery store (at least around where I live), a pint of bb's there will easily cost you twice that, so I think we got an amazing deal. 8 pints is a TON for two people to share, even if you eat a cup every day!
In fact, the week after we picked them all, I made TWO BLUEBERRY PIES. That's right. TWO. I have never made a pie in my life so I was concerned they would turn out disgusting, but I have to say they taste pretty darn good! I cheated and bought pre-packaged Pillsbury crust, which I am not proud of but it saved me so much time. I looked up a random, basic BB pie recipe online and used that as a guideline and the filling is quite tasty. I think for my next venture, I may try a more ambitious recipe, but for my first time I just wanted to keep it simple.
Here is the recipe I used for the filling, in case you are interested:
For each pie
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 cups fresh blueberries
- Teaspoon (approx) of maple syrup
- Few drops of lemon juice
Basically you just toss everything together in a bowl, pour it in the crust in the pan, making sure the layers are even (as I mentioned, I used Pillsbury pie crust - each box comes with 2 crusts, 1 for the top, 1 for the bottom). At 425 degrees, mine took about 35 minutes to bake, even though the recipe I referenced called for 50 minutes (!). The syrup and lemon juice were not in the recipe, but I just threw those in to see how it would taste - not sure it made a difference but I like to think it added a bit of flavour (the berries we picked were pretty flavourful on their own, though, so I wouldn't recommend adding too much and messing with that).
Know what the best part is? After I baked, I divided the remaining berries up so that the boy could take some home and I could freeze some, and they filled 2 margarine container-sized tubs. and two large tupperware containers! I gave the boy half, and I have been eating them on my cereal every morning now for about 2 weeks and I have barely made a dent. If I freeze one of my two containers, I would say I will still have enough to last me until Winter rears it's ugly-ass head.
Maybe they will be getting low just in time to go apple-picking! Mmm apple pie...