Our family's chance at blueberries (blue gold) this year could have been bleak. Very bleak. As in no blueberries bleak since our local blueberry farm had a dismal crop.
Instead, we find ourselves in quite the opposite situation. My great Uncle (when he was still living) owned a beautiful farm. It was the farm where he and my Grandma grew up. The farm is still in the family, though the farmhouse is rented out. Back behind the white farmhouse, behind the big, old, red barn (I love barns) lies a wonderful blueberry patch that my great uncle planted years and years ago. Many people in the family know about this patch and many of them share it's location with friends along with the invitation to come pick, but still the berries hang on in bunches- many more than get picked each year (or eaten by the birds). Every summer my parents pick blueberries here and they, along with others, help to maintain it.
We deliberately added a day to our recent trip for the sole purpose of picking blueberries. Last year, I picked 11 quarts from a local farm. I thought 11 quarts would be enough if I rationed them, but I was wrong. We love blueberries. We use them in baked oatmeal, pancakes, muffins, desserts, on ice cream and eaten fresh or frozen on their own.
This year? We surpassed our 11 quarts by picking 44 (quarts). My mom and dad helped (thank you!). Miriam slept in the baby carrier worn by my mom. Sam picked some, ate some and then played in the van. Sadie picked some, ate handfuls (sometimes directly from the large broilers of already picked blueberries) and sang 'Deep and Wide' with my Dad over the bushes.
We laid the blueberries out overnight so they could ripen a bit more. Although this doesn't seem like it will make much of a difference, it does cause the bluish-purple almost ripe berries to ripen up fully.
Lay blueberries out on trays no more than two or three layers deep for one to two days to allow them to all ripen fully. If I know they haven't been sprayed, I place the ripened blueberries directly into plastic containers and freeze.
If need be, place them into a colander and run water over them to rinse them. Allow them to drain. Spread them out on clean dish towels so they dry a bit, then fill your containers. Use them directly from the freezer in baked goods (including pancakes). No need to thaw them.