Magical blueberry bushes—free from scary bears and as tall as trees—really do exist, thanks to blueberry nymphs that rain down from the skies and sprinkle the earth with plump berry goodness. (At least, that’s my theory.) On Sunday morning, Nate, Alex, and I scampered through wide acres of the Mountain View Blueberry Farm in Snohomish, Washington. I giddily swung my bucket and skipped about. Happy families and children passed us along the way. Their buckets were brimming, their teeth were purple, and they wore big cheeky smiles.
After a short walk, we descended upon rows of Concord and Blueray berries. According to “Selecting Blueberry Varieties for the Home Garden,” by Rutgers Cooperative Extension, both Concord and Blueray are known for their “dessert quality.” The clusters of berries growing high and low on the bushes certainly looked ripe, but just to make sure, we tried a few before picking. They were absolutely sweet and we couldn’t wait to fill our buckets. Before the 1900s, blueberries could only be enjoyed in the wild. Growing blueberries at “you pick” farms and in backyards didn’t begin until the 20th century, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. I’m certainly thankful for scientists who have given us so much access to blueberries these days. (I’m sure the birds, deer, and bears are thankful as well.)
Just thirty-five minutes later, our buckets were full and our hands were delightfully stained. We had about 12 pounds of blueberries, which was a little over $30. In the off-season, blueberries in our local grocery stores could cost up to $6.99 a pound, so we decided we had done well. We would have plenty of berries for scones, a pie, and lots of smoothies.
Blueberries, by the way are a healthy treat. They are low in fat and high in fiber. The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, in fact lists the following health benefits of blueberries:
–A one-cup serving contains over 25% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C.
–They are an excellent source of manganese, which aids in bone development and helps convert proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into energy.
Most people picking blueberries on Sunday were planning to just snack on the berries and come back the following week to pick more. These little gems truly are addictive! I however, couldn’t wait to get started on a low-fat blueberry scone recipe I’ve been perfecting lately. So I gathered some ingredients and followed these steps:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
5 Tablespoons of reduced fat butter—cut into pieces if using hard/stick butter
½ cup of skim milk
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
½ teaspoon of lemon zest
1 large egg white
½ cup of blueberries
Extra granulated sugar for topping
1) Mix together the flour, 3 Tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, and salt.
2) Cut in the butter with a pastry knife and mix until the mixture looks like course meal.
3) In a separate bowl, combine the skim milk, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and egg white.
4) Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened.
5) Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. (My dough was a bit sticky, so I had to flour my hands and the top of the mixture a bit more.)
6) Sprinkle the blueberries onto the dough and knead about 4-5 times.
7) Press the dough into a circular shape and either cut it into 12 triangles or use a circular-shaped cookie cutter to make 15-17 circles.
8) Place the cut-out shapes onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
9) Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
10) Bake at 425° for 10-12 minutes.
The resulting scones weren’t too sweet, but they were definitely satisfying. Perhaps the blueberry nymphs were smiling down upon my efforts.
Your Turn: Have you ever visited any “you pick” farms in your area? What was your experience like?