DSCF2027In the back of our garden, where the chickens always happen to flock, we have around 13-14 mature blueberry bushes. We’ve had them for a long time, and this year we are harvesting a lot more berries than usual.

We have made the rounds in our neighborhood, giving them to friends. We have eaten them by the handfuls. We have made chilled blueberry pie, cooked blueberry pie, and blueberry pancakes. We have frozen over 5 gallons of berries and about 3 gallons of blueberry blip (what we call pie filling). And we are still harvesting them every day.

Today, our mom made some blueberry muffins, which we’re giving the recipe for, and then she’s going to make yet more pie and put away yet more blip. She’ll also make enough blueberry muffins to freeze and have in the months to come. It has been pretty darn nice to have this many berries.

Blueberries are a very easy bush to grow and well worth it. Once they get mature enough, you can really put away enough to last the entire year until they come in again. Birds such as bluejays and catbirds come by and peck some and I’ve seen squirrels in them too, but they don’t really take away much. We have a domestic deer who hangs around our yard and it goes for our corn and doesn’t touch the berries.

While we have gotten a couple of bushes locally, our mom gets her best bushes from a company called Stark Brothers, which mails the bushes to you. There are three bushes that we really like from them: Patriot, Bluejay, and Bluecrop. The Patriot bush grows really big berries about the size of grapes that are good for eating. Bluecrop grows very pretty berries with lighter, tender skins. These berries taste very good and are good to add to dishes where looks count. Bluejay berries are good for making pies and also just eating. We have berries that ripen early, mid, and late so that our blueberry season lasts a good portion of the summer.

As for the care of blueberries, you should prune at least the dead branches off and also take off any straggling, unruly branches. If berries start to grow and then suddenly wither and die when they are just beginning to ripen, that is a fungus which one of our bushes has gotten in the past. All you have to do is mulch the bush in the late fall. That will cover the spores and it won’t happen to the bush the following year.

Here’s our blueberry muffin recipe:

Ingredients:

1 stick butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour, not sifted
1 pint fresh berries

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Mix eggs, milk, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add liquids alternately with dry ingredients to large bowl. Fold in blueberries and fill muffin tins lined with paper baking cups. Sprinkle a little sugar on top. Bake at 425  degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Yields: 18 large muffins.

Hope this was informative and encouraging for anyone who thinks they’d like to grow their own blueberries!

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