Monday, July 8, 2013

Berries = Pie

 Bowl of blue deliciousness
The blueberries started ripening in earnest this week and then the blackberries began to follow suit. The blues have been the plumpest ever thanks to our record breaking rainfall over the past month.  Ten inches of rain fell in June and we've had another 1.5 inches just in the past 48 hours, it seems like it just won't stop.  But I'm trying not to complain given how much I've complained about drought over the past few years.

I do begin to feel like I'm living in a rainforest.
The berry patch
We have about 18 blueberry bushes of varying age and variety.  Most are rabbiteye and they begin bearing in July and continue into late August/early September.  The oldest were planted about 8 years ago, the newest last season.  The varieties include Premier, Columbus, Tifblue, Delite, Onslow, O'Neal and Powder Blue.  The older ones came from Finch Blueberry Nursery, a well known NC blueberry grower, the newer ones from Camellia Forest.
A few ripe blueberries with many more to come
And blackberries too
I'm not as happy with our blackberries, they are a thorn less variety, can't remember the name though they are all named for native tribes, I think Arapaho or maybe Navajo?  Not sure why they are named this way.

I would like to try a different variety and see if we have better luck, while these do make nice large berries, they are not as sweet as one would hope, nor as plump as other varieties I've seen.  They'll do for now.  If you have a favorite blackberry variety, please comment and tell me what it is and where you found it.

So with some berries mounting up I knew it was pie time.  I like to use my friend Karen Barkers recipe from her Sweet Stuff book. She includes orange zest and juice and a hint of cinnamon, that together with the 2 kinds of berries yields a really fragrant flavor, not too cloying, not too sweet.  I used 3 cups of blues and 1 cup of blacks (Her recipe calls for 4 cups of blues and 2 of blacks, I didn't have that many and it turned out fine, I just reduced the sugar and flower a smidgen.)
This is what I am talking about!
With ice cream for dessert last night, with cappuccino for breakfast this morning, and more to come. Not exactly slimming for my waistline but I'm getting to where I think that slimming my waistline may be a lost cause.

For a little more pie fun, check out the movie Sweet Land, a wonderful film about a mail order German bride coming to the Midwest in 1920, there is a fantastic pie scene about 45 minutes in and the whole movie is a very sweet love story worth watching.

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