From Blueberry Bush to Smoothie

Beautiful blueberries
Beautiful blueberries

Once again this year our high bush blueberries have been producing wonderfully.  Now I know this is Maine and we grow some of the most amazing wild blueberries in this state.  They are small and sweet and perfect for baking.  I really like to use them in my blueberry muffins and pancakes because the small ones distribute throughout the batter very nicely.  However, picking blueberries from bushes is much easier on your back than the traditional method for wild blueberry fields which are low bush and require "raking" to harvest.

We have 4 plants that are mature and producing fruit and 3 additional smaller plants that are growing and we should be able to harvest from then in the next few years.  Like any other fruit plant or tree it takes a little while until you get fruit.

The other great thing about blueberry bushes is that they are perennials.  Once they are established as long as they are taken care of they will give you fruit year after year.  Our bushes are in the front yard fenced off from where the chickens roam the rest of the property.  Before we put up the fence I would look out my kitchen window to see chickens jumping up to snatch berries off.  I guess they love the antioxidants too.

I flash freeze the blueberries we harvest to be used later mostly in smoothies that both my husband and I take to work for breakfast.  To flash freeze we just lay the blueberries out on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the freezer for several hours.  The berries are then transferred to bags and kept in the freezer.  The advantage to flash freezing is that the berries are all separate so when you open the bag you can take out just what you need since they are not frozen into one lump.  If you just put them into the freezer bag fresh and put the whole thing in to freeze you risk that they will freeze together and it will be more difficult to use only what you need.

We make both kefir and yogurt and use a combination of both in our smoothies.  Then we add a tablespoon or so of honey a handful of greens and a few berries.  This is all blended and makes enough for both of us for breakfast.  Whatever greens and berries are available make great smoothies.  We tend to use berries more than other fruit because one they don't have too much fructose in them and two they are loaded with antioxidants.  Kale is the green that we use most but spinach, bok choy and even chard are great.  Any combination of berries and greens makes things interesting and nutritious too.

Even if you are buying yogurt, kefir and frozen berries from the store smoothies are a great way to pack a big nutrition punch to start your day.  It only takes a few minutes to make them and I'm betting the kids will love them too.

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