How We’re Using Our Fresh Blueberries

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Blueberry season is currently in full swing here in my home state of Michigan and each year I always try to go “pick my own” so I can then make my own blueberry goodies. At the time of this writing, the price for a u-pick pound of blueberries was $1.25 so it’s definitely a frugal option for us too.

A bowl of freshly picked blueberries

And I always try to bring a few helpers along with me. Even the little ones can help. I have them pick the low ones, and I pick the high ones! But the more helpers you have, the more blueberries you have, and that left me figuring out what to do with the 4 pounds of freshly picked blueberries we ended up with.

Freezing Freshly Picked Blueberries

The first thing I usually do is freeze some of the blueberries. Now maybe you already know this trick, but I only learned it a few years ago. I used to dump the blueberries straight into bags or containers – BUT – when taking them out of the freezer they were sometimes all frozen together in one big lump if they had been a little moist yet from rinsing them when they went in the freezer.

I’ve since learned a better way. Now, I always spread them out on a sheet pan, and then put the sheet pan into the freezer. This allows each blueberry to freeze individually. After an hour or so I take the sheet pan of the now frozen blueberries back out of the freezer and then put them into bags or containers. This is so helpful if I want to measure out just a few of the blueberries from the freezer for a recipe later on instead of having to thaw the entire bag or container of the blueberries.

Freezing blueberries by putting them on a sheet pan first

Next up, Blueberry Muffins!

Any time we pick blueberries, one of my favorite things to make is blueberry muffins. For many years I’ve used a recipe that includes orange juice in the batter, something I don’t see too often in other blueberry muffin recipes. If I substitute the egg in this recipe with my flax egg replacement (which I often do), it can be an oil-free and animal product-free recipe too.

blueberry muffins on a plate

I wrote about this recipe once before on my post about turning your own recipes into make-ahead mixes, but thought I would give you the entire recipe here too:

Blueberry Muffins

The orange juice used in this muffin batter not only adds extra flavor, it also makes this recipe dairy free and oil free.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Baked Goods
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Muffins
Yield: 12 Muffins
Author: Beverly

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Blueberries
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Orange Juice

Instructions:

  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir the blueberries into the dry ingredients.
  • In a small bowl, combine the egg and the orange juice. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until ingredients are just mixed together.
  • Grease a muffin pan (or use paper liners, or a silicone muffin pan). Place some of the batter into each compartment, filling them about two thirds full. There should be enough batter for about 12 muffins.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

We’ll Be Making Blueberry Pancakes Too

Also on the menu at our house this week will be some blueberry pancakes. I’ll be using my Homemade Whole Grain Pancake Mix and this should be a quick and easy meal! I’ll probably be making a quick batch of my simple blueberry syrup topping to go with them too.

Pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup

And Then He Talked Me Into Pie

I haven’t been making many sweet treats at our house anymore and I’ve been trying to focus more on whole foods and healthy vegetables and fruits (like blueberries!). But Bob kept going past the big bowl of blueberries and mournfully asking, “Will there be pie??”

A homemade mini blueberry pie

So I finally relented and made him his own mini-sized blueberry pie. For this little pie I used a recipe that’s already here on my blog, but it’s kind of hidden away in a very old post about a push-in pie crust.

I didn’t use the push-in pie crust method this time around however. I just made a quick little crust using what I had on hand. I used a 1/2 cup of flour, 2 Tbl of plant-based “butter”, a pinch of salt, and a couple tablespoons of water. Once it was rolled and in my mini 6″ glass pie pan, I pricked the bottom of the crust with a fork and baked it for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Then it was ready to be filled with the blueberry pie filling! I made a half size batch of the recipe below:

Homemade Blueberry Pie Filling

This homemade blueberry pie filling comes together quickly and easily in just a few minutes on the stovetop. It can then be poured into a baked pie crust.
Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pie Filling
Yield: 1 9″ Pie
Author: Beverly

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Blueberries (Divided)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 3 Tbl Cornstarch

Instructions:

  • In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of the blueberries with the sugar, water, and cornstarch.
  • Heat on the stove, stirring it a bit, until the mixture comes to a boil. Then turn the heat down and continue to stir until the mixture is thick and clear. This should happen quite quickly.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining blueberries.
  • Pour into a 9" baked pie crust and chill.

Lots of Blueberry Goodness!

So those are a few of the homemade ways that we put our frugal pick-your-own blueberries to good use. I’ll also be using some in my smoothies using my homemade smoothie system that’s an easy way for me to combine any fruits I have around the house.

And of course, blueberries are a yummy snack to just eat by the handful! I’ve been leaving a little bowl of blueberries out on the kitchen counter to encourage myself to enjoy this healthy snack any time of the day. Every time I have a few to munch on I’m reminded that freshly picked blueberries are indeed one of nature’s delicious sweet treats!

A handful of fresh picked blueberries

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6 Comments

  1. Blue berry flapjack pancakes here we come. I had many visions of spending the weekend preparing blueberry treats. 3kg (6 pounds) sounded like a lot of berries, BUT I left them unattended on the kitchen counter and sneaky snacking family left only1kg (2 pounds) for the weekend treats. At least I know that vitamin loaded snacks got gobbled, so syrupy towers of pancakes are on tomorrow’s menu. Thank you for such inspiring ideas. You have added much value to our lives.
    TT

    1. So true! I left a bowl of berries out on the counter for snacking and was surprised at how quickly they disappeared. But like you said, they are a healthy snack so I was glad they were being enjoyed.

  2. I am so excited to know that the blueberries of Michigan are coming soon! I am originally from Michigan but now live in Nebraska. I have shared with friends that nothing is better than a Michigan blueberry. I wait until they are in our stores! Thank you for all of the wonderful things you suggest about multiple areas in our lives. I love it when the Make Your Own Zone is in my inbox.

    1. I agree that Michigan blueberries are the best! I also love the sweet cherries and apples grown in Michigan (yum!)

  3. Hello. Enjoyed your post very much. We often picked blueberries when I was a child. I will probably be trying your recipe. Thanks!