Summer is almost here – and that means blueberries!
Depending upon your growing zone, if you haven't seen juicy, ripe blueberries yet, you will soon. Blueberries ripen between late June and August. (Not sure of your zone? Look here.)
Be ready for that fresh harvest with these five awesome ways to use blueberries.
Blueberries are wonderful when they're fresh-picked. But that's not the only way to eat a blueberry! Here's how to use your harvest.
Mmmm! Blueberry butter is a wonderful take on traditional butter spreads. We love this recipe from Food Network.
Making blueberry butter is so easy. It takes just minutes to prepare; refrigerate to make it more solid before serving, if you wish. Spread on waffles, pancakes or a breakfast bagel. It's also fabulous melted on a halved breakfast muffin.
Freezing is a traditional route for storing berries. Blueberries freeze well and taste delicious if the process is done correctly. Here's how to freeze blueberries and avoid the “clumping” effect:
They're best if eaten within six months, but frozen berries are perfect for pies, waffles and dessert toppings even if you've had them in the freezer (properly prepped) for nine months or more. You an also add them to a blueberries-and-cream presentation for brunch or stir them into your yogurt.
Blueberry sauce is the perfect summer or fall addition to pancakes and waffles. It's also delicious slightly re-warmed and drizzled over ice cream sundaes.
Blueberry sauce can be made to your own tastes, so experiment. The basics are 3 cups blueberries to 2 tablespoons to molasses to a squeeze of lime juice. You can add a dash of cinnamon for extra flavor if you'd like.
Credit: Tall Clover Farm
Canning is the go-to method for preserving a variety of summer fruits and veggies. Invest in some quality mason jars, caps and seals. (You can grab these at a steal; check the baking aisle at your grocery store or look online.)
You'll also need two pots: one large and high enough to completely immerse the jars for sterilization and one for cooking. (Tip: If you plan on doing a lot of preserving, invest in a great canning pot.)
Canning pots generally come with basic canning instructions. Follow the directions exactly, or check the internet for tasty variations and “make it all easier” hacks. You'll find that canning is fun and can even be relaxing. And the simmering smells all afternoon are absolutely wonderful!
Blueberries are a preferred food source and a treat for birds and squirrels. If you have berries that have become over-ripe, don't toss them. Put them out along with seed, suet and other goodies your hungry friends will like.
You can also freeze over-ripe berries (be sure to mark the bag) and take them out in the winter, when animals are hungrier and seeking a food source.
Blueberries are delicious, healthy and abundant at this time of year. Don't miss the opportunity to use every last juicy bite. There's never a reason for blueberries to go to waste. Use the above five methods and enjoy the harvest!
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Late summer is an exciting time for the hobby or pro gardener. Why? Because for many fruits and veggies, it's harvest time! But did you get even more than you wished for? If you have an overabundance of berries, we have just the solution for you. Make a wonderful jam you and your family can enjoy all through the autumn and winter months.