I still remember three years ago today, I was in Akersjön, Sweden - the so called "last wilderness in Europe". It was mid - summer towards autum so I experienced a great natural surroundings with blaze of wild flowers, crisp air, beautiful hills and an abundance of my favorite wild blueberries - the berries that are literally bursting with nutrients and flavor, but I haven't seen or touched fresh!
Blueberries are flowering plants usually small, close to the ground and hang on bushes in little bunches.In Sweden, wild blueberries are at their best from May through October when they are in season. So I wasted no time to experience the fun way to get blueberries - picking them myself!
I would like to share with you the step-by-step things I did to have this unique experience of picking blueberries for the first time and getting the best berries for my work!
First.Pick A Good Bush. My friend Beth and her husband Roland Ulander, own a mountain house in Ackersjon and the place is such a natural beauty. There are good bushes just a few meters away from the mountain house and you can choose to pick berries anywhere you like since it is free. A good bush will have many good berries according to Roland.
Second.Know What To Look For as Good Blueberries. A good berry is round, bluish, and with unblemished skin. I was told that the general rule when it comes to blueberries is "the bigger, the sweeter". Also,once picked blueberries won't sweeten any further.
Third.Be Equipped. Since blueberries are small and attached to the stem, it makes blueberry picking much faster if you comb the blueberry bush with a hand rake. Well, if you don't have a hand rake,don't fret! You can try cupping your hand around the blueberries. Then find something to hold your berries - a bucket, a plastic bag, a basket, or some other kind of container.
Fourth. Find A Good Time To Do The Picking and With Whom. Since we are picking blueberries in a wilderness area in the summer, we chose a time that is not too hot and kept an eye out for bears. Also we chose the spot where a group of people go as well.
Fifth. Enjoy the Experience. Find a good berries, and then pick them - use your fingers as a rake and put the blueberry in the bucket or eat it. In times I were tempted to eat every blueberry I see, I followed the rule "one for me, two for the bucket".
Sixth.Continue Picking Until You Are Satisfied. I had a wonderful experience.I just picked and picked until I have gotten most of the good berries off the bush.
Seventh.Refrigerate,Don't Wash. As soon as you're done picking, refrigerate the blueberries if you want to eat them fresh. Do cover them while they are refrigerated. Once chilled, they can last for 10 to 14 days. Wash just before serving or eating.
In Sweden,they usually make blueberry jelly and syrup as soon as they picked the berries.The syrup is always served on an ice cream for snacking in the summer afternoons! CRAVE!!