Blueberry picking is another hallmark of a summer well-lived. The whole experience of taking the wagon to the blueberry patch, filling your baskets with these delicious blue gems, followed up with a tasty blueberry treat, is one to revisit every single year.
Blueberries ripen in July and August at blueberry farms in Ontario. They come in wild and highbush varieties. What’s commonly known as ‘wild’ is a berry that comes from a native stand of lowbush variety. These bushes aren’t intentionally planted, but are cared for with pruning and pest management. Highbush blueberries are cultivated and generally produce larger berries.
The striking blueberry not only packs a visual punch when you’re preparing dessert or a fruity summer salad. It also has an excellent nutritional impact. It’s low in calories and is a source of potassium, Vitamins A, C and B-6, Iron and Magnesium. Use a light hand with the sugar, and you have a healthy dessert option.
Blueberry Picking Tips:
- Don’t forget the container! Choose a smaller container with a handle so you can loop it through your belt. This keeps it handy and allows you to use both hands for more efficient picking.
- Be selective. Not every berry will ripen at the same time. Look for larger, plump berries that are firm to the touch and don’t have cracks. These will be the sweetest.
- A ripe berry will roll off the stem easily and fall into your hand. Gently hold a cluster in your hand and roll the berries off. Ones that do not come away easily should be left on the bush to ripen further.
- Like strawberries, blueberries don’t ripen when picked. So leave unripened berries for the next person in a few days.
- Commit to a bush, and pick all the ripe berries on it, before moving onto the next one. This is the most efficient way, plus, you’re leaving unpicked bushes for the next person.
- Once your picking is done, be sure to handle your berries gently and refrigerate them promptly.
At Barrie Hill Farms, there is a $5 pre-paid picking fee per person if you wish to take a wagon to the fields. This cost is deducted from your purchase of berries when you’re all done. This fee helps to support our clean and tidy farm and picnic area, and for your wagon ride. You can also simply enjoy the wagon ride if you decide not to pick! It’s a lot of fun to get out in the sunshine and explore the farm.
How to Freeze Fresh Picked Blueberries
Blueberries are excellent to freeze because they hold their nutritional value, shape, taste, and texture well. To freeze blueberries, simply wash and dry them thoroughly, removing any stems or debris, and lay them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment. You don’t want the berries to be touching as they will tend to freeze together.
Once they are frozen, transfer the berries to a freezer bag, and you’re done! You can now use the berries for a year-round taste of local produce.
Our Favourite Way to Enjoy Blueberries
Blueberries make an excellent substitution for syrup on pancakes or french toast! To make blueberry syrup, simply simmer 1 cup of washed blueberries, 1 cup of warm water, 1 cup of sugar, a teaspoon of lemon juice on the stovetop until the berries are soft and the syrup is thickened, about 15 minutes.
Leftover syrup can also be frozen for a delicious mid-winter breakfast that reminds you of summer.
Visit Blueberry Farms in Ontario
Blueberries are native to Canada, so they’re an amazingly hearty plant built to withstand Ontario’s harshest winters. This makes them an excellent choice of crop for Ontario farms. Show your support for fresh, local produce, including blueberries by spending a day blueberry picking each summer.