Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rambling Thursdays

It’s fruit picking time here in my neck of the woods. And boy are they fruitful right now! 

Even as a kid, I always enjoyed picking fruit. There was a blueberry patch not far from the old home place and Mom would enlist us as her helpers every year. There would be an assortment of belts to choose from. All sizes and shapes. These would be our harnesses for our buckets. We would range up and down the blueberry isles picking the blue beauties. 

Of course tasting a few, (or more) is required. You could hear the voices of unseen fellow pickers a few isles over. I just loved it! Still do. 

My daughter-in-law and I went on Monday to Southwest Michigan to pick blueberries, (her first time) and bought sweet cherries and raspberries. There’s just something about Michigan fruit. Not sure what it is. Perhaps the “lake effect” from Lake Michigan. 

If you aren’t familiar with the “Lake effect” and what that means, believe me it has quite the effect! Especially in the grips of winter. Lake effect means snow. It’s a snow machine that generates the stuff and throws it all over Southwest Michigan and down into Indiana. 

So it has to contribute to the fruit that just grows in abundance there. I know it contributes to the humidity that does a frizzy number on my hair every summer. 

Right now it’s the season for blueberries, sweet cherries, tart cherries, and raspberries. I put some blueberries in the freezer. I love them in pancakes, on my yogurt and by the handful. I have a recipe for Blueberry Buckle that I love to make. It’s like a coffee cake. I put the required three cups in a freezer bag so I can make it through the winter. Here’s the recipe:

Blueberry Buckle
2 cups flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 stick Butter
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Milk
2 cups Blueberries

1/3 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the topping until it’s crumbly, set aside.

Blend the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl cream the sugar, butter, egg and vanilla. Alternately add the milk and flour mixture to the creamed mixture ending with flour. Stir in the berries. Pour in cake pan. Sprinkle topping on top and bake 40-45 minutes. 

Soon the peaches will be ready. There’s nothing like a fuzzy, sweet, juicy peach. Not sure how many more adjectives I can add here. It’s just plain heavenly. 

But it can be dicey every spring to see what survives the winters here. Or any late frosts that damages the crops. Last year there was a late frost that destroyed the peaches. The only peaches we could get was from Illinois. They were very pricy. Which bummed me out because I so wanted to can some. Perhaps later I’ll give you my recipe for canned peaches. There’s nothing like opening a can of peaches that you labored over in the middle of winter. Believe me it doesn’t even compare to a store bought. 

In a few weeks I’ll be very busy canning peaches. Yes, it is work, but satisfying. 

So what fruit is ready in your part of the country? Do you put it up for the winter? 

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