Sunday, July 20, 2014

Catching Blueberries

The warm summer breeze rustles the mass of blueberry bushes. The lanky branches sway and the berries dance playfully, like toddlers impishly attempting to escape the embrace of a parent. It is a game. Who can be more nimble, who can stay just out of reach? In the end, we know it is inevitable we will collide and collapse in an unruly pile of hugs and giggles. 
It is what I like to call Blueberry Jam Day, that one day in July when the sun is just right, and the blueberries are that perfect shade of ebony blue. I head out early to Patty’s Berries and Bunches on the North Fork of Long Island with basket in tow. My goal is to collect enough berries for jam and baking to last me well into the winter.
Patty’s blueberries are planted in long corridors that seem to stretch on for an eternity. I’m told the best options for picking will be well into the field so I head deep into the heart of blueberry world, with only the palpable whisper of the breeze, the cotton candy clouds, the swishing of the branches, and the chirping of a red wing blackbird to keep me company.
It is a game of skill, attempting to grab these blueberries that hope to elude capture. 
But, I am the blueberry catcher, and within time, I am victorious, with a mountain of blue orbs in hand. Immediately, I return to the kitchen to begin jamming.  

It is such a satisfying thing, capturing that thrilling moment in the field within a quilted glass jar. The sugar, lemon juice and pectin are added and the berries simmer and pop and transform into thick purple syrup. 
Now you can actually taste the sun, the breeze, the sound of the birds and the excitement of the chase.
Slathered on a warm muffin or piping hot slice of toast, my North Fork Blueberry Jam can evoke smiles, giggles and delicious memories of catching blueberries for some time to come.

©2014 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Gloria Baker said...

beautiful! I adore blueberries!
Can you send me someones T.W:))))
We are in winter now!
Love the pictures!!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I am very impressed with your blueberries. Ours haven't quite ripened yet due most likely to a cold spurt in late spring that the locals call "blackberry winter." The challenge here is pick the berries before the birds have their way with them. From the looks of it, you will be very happy in the dead of winter enjoying your homemade blueberry jam.

~~louise~~ said...

Blueberries have just started to pop up at the local farm stands, T.W. Like you, I plan on storing as many as my little hands can carry. I won't be making glistening jam like you though. I just haven't gotten that far yet. Heck, I haven't even planted my own blueberry bushes yet:) They'll be stashed in the freezer and enjoyed throughout the Winter.

I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon than by capturing the memories of "the pick" and relishing it for the Winter ahead. Of course, a nibble of your blueberry jam would be wonderful too:)

Thank you so much for sharing, T.W.

laura luciano said...

You should have called the OEF! I would have joined you. I was just there this week indulging in cucumber and corn on the cob ice cream!

My property at Sheridan Green has Native blueberries, I see the blue orbs popping up here and there. I just need to move swiftly or all the birds will get them. Lovely JAM session was had by you, congrats on the sweet success! xo

Barbara said...

The only thing better is wild blueberries! Ah! To have have northern Michigan days of my childhood back.
Lovely that you are making jam!
I'm impressed, T. W.!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I'm very impressed with your blueberry jam. I have wild blueberries growing all around the orchard but the birds seem to get to them before I can.

~~louise~~ said...

Hi T.W!
I hope you and yours are enjoying this Labor Day weekend and that all is well in your little corner of the world:)

Wishing you a safe and happy weekend, T.W. Stay well...