We have been out to our favorite cherry and blueberry farms this past week or so. The cherries were Queen Anne varieties. Beautiful and flavorful but not too abundant due to some challenging spring weather. The dark sweet cherries were very minimal and were picked out before we got back from our summer vacation on the Oregon Coast last week. Oh, well. That means they will taste that much better next year!
Blueberries seem to have come on well. We did our first pick yesterday at Bear Fruit (541-995-3445, 521-7721) in Harrisburg. Not at their peak yet but still were able to pick about 20 lbs in short time. It was a beautiful evening with a slight breeze (we got there a bit late but they graciously allowed us to pick as long as we needed). A bull frog was GUNKin’ in the irrigation pond and a small green heron was fishing in a slough.
We will freeze this lot and get another for our cherished Blueberry jam later this week. I will also get a bunch for juicing and syrup making. Blueberries are easy to freeze. Place them on a cookie sheet and freeze flat for a while then place frozen berries in freezer bags. Easy to add to muffins and pancakes later in the year!
Blueberries shouldn’t be washed (unless they were sprayed) before processing as they have special qualities that may be lost with washing. They are known for exceptional health benefits.
I will process a batch of Blueberries for about 50% of the regular time. At that point I drain the juice into jars and cap them. The pulp left in the colander (fruit basket) is then run through a foley food mill into a heavy bottomed sauce pan. I then process for Blueberry fruit spread using Pomona Pectin. If necessary, to correct the consistency or to increase the amount, I will add some of the fresh juice I have just drawn off.
You can also process the usual amount of time, foley mill the pulp at that point and add juice as above (you will have to add more juice at this point to get that great Blueberry flavor). Or, compost the left over pulp and make beautiful clear jelly with the juice using the Pomona Pectin.
Both of these methods work for cherries as well.
Take care and as always give a ring if you have any questions. 800-450-6081