This past weekend was the opening of blueberry season here in CT – at least at our favorite local farm. We like to go to Litchfield Hills Blueberry Farm because they have a huge farm and a tremendous variety of berries, meaning the growing season is months long as opposed to just a few weeks.
There are a number of other farms here that have berries, and they’re all great too! But we like this one.
Today I’m going to talk about why we go blueberry picking, how it’s frugal fun for our family, and share with you my favorite blueberry recipes (and a hack for freezing for later).
PLUS I have a surprise for you…
Today’s not just a post.
I also have a video of our adventures… and all the recipes!!!
That’s right, for the past week I’ve been learning how to create and edit a YouTube video.
Why We Pick – Even Though It’s Not The Cheapest
I’ll tell you a little secret.
Whenever I read a money saving “tip” or “hack” that suggests either picking your own fruit or buying at a farmers market, I laugh. I’m sure there are places where that’s less expensive than buying at the grocery store, but not here.
Here, in fact, these blueberries were $2.75 per pint. I can get them at the store, on sale, for around $2 per pint.
The quality is no where near as good.
There’s nothing quite like a blueberry picked fresh from the bush in the morning, and eaten raw or turned into a treat by the evening. In the dead of winter, there’s nothing like thawing out a cup or so of summer picked berries, to give a little pick me up to some pancakes.
Plus I love supporting a local farmer.
Sure, I could go to Stop and Shop or Price Chopper, or even my favorite Aldi’s, and get them cheaper. Sometimes paying the absolute lowest amount possible isn’t the goal.
These berries are essentially Whole Foods quality at a bargain price. My favorite kind of frugal is when I can pay around what I would for a cheap, low quality item and instead use a bit of effort – or some creativity – to get a great product.
Buying quality and local at a good – although not the cheapest – price? Sounds like a win/win to me.
Frugal Family Fun
Every parent knows and dreads the summer “I’m bored!!!!” chorus. Picking your own fruit is a pretty darned inexpensive morning full of entertainment.
Plus you can rope your kids into helping you bake – giving you food and teaching them life skills.
I can remember picking berries when my middle son, now 12, was only a baby. I would put his little carrier next to the bush and pick away. When he was two, I had to teach him why we don’t pick and eat the green blueberries. It’s been a fun annual tradition for many years now.
Our “pick your own” frugal family fun adventures aren’t limited to blueberries. We pick strawberries – turning them into jam and freezing a bunch for the winter. Apply picking is a fun fall treat. And I always want to pick raspberries, but their season here is about five minutes long and we never seem to catch it.
So not only do we get an inexpensive morning of family fun, but it’s productive fun. And you know how much I love cultivating productive hobbies.
I Love Baking!
If you watch the video, I’m sure you’ll be able to tell how much we love baking here at CMO central.
So much so, in fact, that our oven light is burnt out.
Get another one, you say? We did that and it happened again. Oh well, we have oven repair people on the way shortly and hopefully can figure out what’s going on here.
Again, it’s one of those productive hobbies. It’s fun, I enjoy experimenting with new recipes, and we get some delicious food for breakfast and dessert for a few weeks. And in fact, both the scones and muffins we made freeze well.
Although with three kids, all boys, including a teenager and an almost-teen, that’s not really a problem around here.
White Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
Lately I’ve been experimenting a lot with whole wheat baking. Whole wheat pastry flour and white whole wheat flour have been amazing to bake with. I’ve found they both work well in recipes where the flour is not the star of the show – so they’re perfect for cinnamon blueberry muffins.
This has to be hands-down my favorite blueberry muffin recipe. Moist, delicious, you would never guess they were 100% whole wheat.
Since I’m on a whole-wheat baking adventure, I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t use whole wheat flour in these.
Scones, I’m afraid, are one of those recipes where the flour taste and texture really come through. So although I’ve found a great way to make white whole wheat biscuits, I don’t think a scone would taste quite right in a whole wheat form.
Scones are one of those things that I can make that make me feel “fancy” – and I can whip up an entire batch for less than the cost of one overpriced Starbucks scone.
Now we have to talk about the star of the blueberry show.
The blueberry pie.
Honestly we have this pie once a year, and that once is when we pick blueberries. Not only do we get to look forward to this all year long, making it a really exciting treat for everyone, but it’s also the most delicious version of itself.
There’s nothing quite like a blueberry pie with ice cream, where the blueberries were on the bush in the morning and in the pie by the evening. Yummmmmmm.
Frozen Blueberry Hack!
I have a simple hack for freezing blueberries so they don’t all stick together in a giant blueberry clump. You can either watch the video above, or pop on over here to check it out.
Let me know in the comments!
Do you do pick your own fruit with your kids? What’s your favorite blueberry recipe? Let me know in the comments!
And be sure to check out that video – it was so much fun, but a lot of work, to learn a new skill like video editing. I really hope it brings a smile to your face, or inspires you to whip up some recipes of your own!
Have an amazing Friday and weekend.