Thursday, August 14, 2008

August Yummy Blues


Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!

And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!

Robert Frost (excerpt)

Lowbush wild blueberries grow in the poor shallow soil that covers much of the Canadian Shield. We have vacationed many times in Ontario's near north and have spent hours crouched in the scrub picking the small blue fruit. It takes considerable time to gather a quart, especially when the biggest berries end up in your mouth.

Between Parry Sound and Sudbury, blueberries are sold by native Canadians along the highway. When we come home we stop to buy a basket of these relatively expensive berries. I don't mind paying the price and freeze them on a tray before I bag them. They are used up too quickly in a pie. I add them to pancakes and muffins or top my oatmeal with them in the morning. Because they are smaller than cultivated highbush blueberries, they hold their shape well in baked goods and do not explode.

Do you recognize this fruit??

Birds and bears as well as other wild creatures depend on wild berries for food. The berries above are covering bushes along the back entrance to the hospital. Robins, Cedar Waxwings and Cardinals are among the birds spending the day in the area. I am not sure what kind of berries they are. Elderberry leaves are serrated and these leaves are smooth. I may try some if I am sure they are not toxic.

Science is proving how good berries are for us, but I eat them because of their delicious taste!

What is your favourite berry?


  1. I think they are Pokeberries, Ruth. Birds do love them.

    Blueberries are expensive to buy here so I'd love to go picking for the snacking and fun.

  2. I love blueberries too. I have them on my cereal in the mornings. To be able to pick them would be a nice treat.

  3. Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are my favorite--and they are all so full of antioxidants and are about the healthiest things you can eat. That works for me.

  4. Anonymous7:47 am GMT-4

    Now there is something blue that is good.

    I like blueberries, but I would have to say strawberries are my favorite. I have dislike for raspberries and anything raspberry flavoured.

    I like to take all kinds of berries and fruit and make a salad, but it's very very expensive but it taste sooo good.

  5. Anonymous9:32 am GMT-4

    Mmmm. Blueberries. I read somewhere that they rank, along with brocolli and oranges, the healtiest foods we can eat.

  6. My favorite berry is always the one that is in peak season locally. I just love having fresh berries of any kind. They are so superior to frozen ones and I can just grab a handful for a snack.

  7. I don't think the berries are pokeberries. The leaves are fatter than the more slender pokeweed leaves. The arrangement of the berries is not like pokeweed. The picture seems to show leaves on the same stem as the berries. Pokeweed berries grow in long clusters, much like grapes.

    They look similar to service berries, but you mentioned they were growing on a bush so that's not likely what they are.

  8. Just one comment: hmmm hmmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm.

  9. Ruth,
    I love all types of berries and really do not have a favorite. They are all equally good.

    I'm not sure what kind of berries they are. I've never seen them before. Just be careful if you chose to taste them.

    Usually the boys and I go with Mom to pick blueberries, but I don't think it's going to happen this year. Things are too chaotic here.

    Thanks for your comment on my post today about taking water and electricity for granted. I didn't realize that it was the anniversary of the 2003 blackout, but I do believe you're right.

    Take care, Ruth. I hope you find out what the berries are. They look delicious.


  10. Blueberries are probably my favourite though I love the taste of raspberries and blackberries as well ... just not the seeds. My friend in Quesnel knows where the wild blueberries grow and they do take a lot of time to pick but the taste is oh so much better than the high bush. I haven't found any wild blues around here ... our soil is to alkaline.

  11. PS.

    I just Googled the blue fruit and think they may be chokeberries. Here is a URL where you can take a look at a variety of fruits that grow in our region of Ontario.

    Hope this helps. Mary

  12. They do not look like our elderberries....the leaf is very different......
    Our elderberries are just ripe....I walk my garden and pick and eat as I stroll.....they are delicious but my favourite berry is the raspberry.......

    We have blackberries growing wild in the garden to....they are delicious....

    when I was pregnant with my daughter I lived on berries, and she absolutely loves them, she is 33 now by the way....

  13. Anonymous4:03 pm GMT-4

    Gooseberries are one of my favorites, Grandma made the most awesome jam with them.

    Locally I adore huckleberries (Red Huckleberries) but they are insanely expensive since they are quite difficult to grow and do not transplant well from the wild. I love Marionberries (a blackberry cultivar from Marion, Oregon.) Heck I just like berries!

    Now you have me craving pie... I make a solstice pie that has peach on the bottom and dark berry on top (usually blueberries or blackberries.)

  14. I think that unidentified shrub is a Highbush Cranberry or a Dwarf Blueberry...I just know I've seen it before. My favourite berry is Blueberry.

  15. Anonymous7:09 pm GMT-4

    Luscious blueberries! Great berry picking month, that's for sure. Also enjoyed the excerpt from Robert Frost's poem. I don't really have a favourite berry; I like them all. :)

  16. Anonymous8:27 pm GMT-4

    Years ago when we lived near Pembroke ON, Dad and I picked what we thought were blue berries. The old-timers called them "bear berries". They are look alikes but the bear berries are the size of cultivated blue berries. We never made the mistake again. We didn't die but suffered, but not in silence for 24 hours.
    I love all berries. My favorites - red and black raspberries, wild strawberries and blueberries.

  17. Ruth, blueberries are my fav by far! They are $2.50 lb. here this year.

  18. Thanks for all the comments! There are a lot of berry lovers out there. Thanks Mary, Mary, NCMW and Sam for your ID ideas and links. I think I will leave the berries for the birds rather than making a pie that may give us cramps!

  19. Blueberries are my favorite berry but I certainly wouldn't want the exploding kind.-I also like the tiny wild strawberries but rarely find them.


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