Growing blueberries? It’s time to pick now that it’s mid-August! I was lucky enough to have a blueberry patch behind our old home and even have some bushes here in Virginia! There are so many varieties that a person can actually pick and eat fresh blueberries from the 4th of July until mid -September! Growing blueberries & harvest time can be fun for the whole family!
Thinking of growing Blueberries?
Before you order any blueberry bushes here’s a great website with a lot of valuable information;
Also this quick checklist will also show you at a glance what is needed to grow this popular fruit.
Quick facts about growing blueberries
Blueberries need full sun.
Blueberries require acidic soil.
Plant two or more varieties for successful pollination.
Plants won’t have much fruit the first 2 to 3 years.
Harvest is bigger after 5 years.
Blueberry plants grow slowly and reach full size in 8 to 10 years.
Each winter, prune out old, weak and dead wood.
So as you can see there is some work involved in caring for your bushes but the idea of having lots of fresh blueberries to pick is well worth the effort.
When Can I Pick Blueberries?
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac:
Blueberries are typically ready for picking between June and August.
Don’t rush to pick the berries as soon as they turn blue. Wait a couple days. When they are ready, they should fall off right into your hand.
If you plant 2-year-old blueberry bushes, they should start to bear within a year or two. (Pick off any flowers that form the first year or two after planting, to allow the bush to become established.) Be aware that full production is only reached after about 6 years (depending on variety).
Can I freeze Blueberries ?
Yes you can freeze blueberries in fact they are one of the easiest fruits to freeze! Once you have picked all you can go inside and spread them out on a cookie sheet in a single layer. This will prevent the berries from sticking together and they will freeze individually! Once frozen remove from freezer.. At this time you can wash them off if you prefer. You can now freeze them in individual freezer bags, either quart size or gallon. When you are ready to use some in a recipe or added to pancakes just remove the amount you need. They defrost quickly on the countertop. Frozen blueberries will. Last 1 year in the freezer, but most people eat them up before this long!
What Can I do with fresh blueberries ?
There are many ways to eat fresh berries . If just eating a bowl of fresh berries just follow these steps: Place the berries in a colander and dip into a bowl of cold water. Gently swish in the water and then allow the berries to drain. Carefully spread out in a single layer and gently pat dry with a paper towel. When blueberries are completely dry they can be eaten or added to other ingredients as instructed by the recipe.
Baking with Blueberries is easy and there a so many delicious recipes from cakes to unfinished and even blueberry syrup for those pancakes!
A great addition to add to your pancakes! Blueberry syrup is easy to make. According to Allrecipes you just need to mix 1 1/2 cups fresh berries with 1/2 cup water plus 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 Tablespoon of Corn starch, and 1 Tablespoon Vanilla. Put this in a small saucepan ( leave out the vanilla for now) on top of your stove.
Cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring often, until syrup thickens about 15 minutes. Whisk in the extract now! You can put through a strainer once cooled or just pour in a glass bottle or jelly jars. Store in refrigerator.
So as you can see this fruit is great for eating fresh, freezing for later, or in baking up a delicious treat! I hope everyone gets a chance to pick some fresh blueberries this season!