Easy Guide For Growing And Using Blueberries

Growing Blueberries

It is easy to grow  blueberries .They don’t require a lot of care and they are not often bothered by pests. If you want to grow fresh produce without spending a lot of back breaking time, growing blueberries could be for you.Originating in Europe and the United States, blueberries have been around for thousands of years. In the U.S.,  they were an important food source for Native Americans.

Now that food research supports blueberries to be one of the top berries nutritionally there has been a clamor for them. Anthocyanin, the antioxidant found in blueberries is a  proven age and disease-fighting agent. They can be a bit pricey at the supermarket thanks to the law of supply and demand. Beat the supermarket prices and grow blueberries.Following a few guidelines can help to grow your own blueberry bush without a lot of effort. Then you will be wondering what to do with all those blueberries.

How To Grow Blueberries

  1. Check to see which variety is best suited to your area before ordering. or…
  2. Buy the bush saplings at a local nursery.
  3. Plant blueberries in the dormant season, about November to March.
  4. Pick a sunny spot. Carefully dig a hole and place the root ball in it.
  5. Fill the hole with a good quality soil with peat moss mixed in.
  6. Mulch with pine bark or pine straw.
  7. Fertilize with ammonium sulfate (Azalea fertilizer works).
  8. Old sheet rock can be used as fertilizer.

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How To Care For Blueberry Bushes

Fast forward to two or three years later. The bushes you planted are beginning to produce. If you planted 2-3 bushes you will soon have plenty of blueberries. Follow these tips to have a free supply of blueberries for many years.

  • Keep blueberries fertilized with ammonium sulfate. They thrive in acidic soil.
  • prune back each year after harvesting the berries.
  • Keep the bush at the right size for picking.
  • Cut sprouts taller than 6 feet back to 5 feet.
  • Every other year cut the oldest middle stem down to two feet.

Recipes With Blueberries

The best part about growing blueberries is having a fresh supply of berries at your doorstep for at least five weeks over the Summer. Blueberries ripen in stages; colors can range from deep blue to green on a single cluster.

Easy ways to eat blueberries:

  • Toss a handful of ripe blueberries on oatmeal and add banana slices.Get all the benefits of anthocyanin without paying supermarket prices.
  • Mix some up with plain nonfat yogurt for a truly healthy snack.
  • Use 1/2 cup fresh blueberries in a favorite smoothie recipe: add 1/4 cup yogurt, 4 ice cubes. A teaspoon of honey will sweeten. Blueberries are a naturally sweet berry.
  • Add fresh blueberries to pancake batter or muffin mix. The berries explode in the batter with flavor.
  • Just eat them!

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Blueberry Muffins Recipe

This simple blueberry muffin recipe allows the berries to be the central focus of flavor. Use one full cup of whole blueberries for a burst of warm blueberry flavor in each muffin.

Ingredients

  • one egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Beat the egg with electric mixer
  2. Add in the oil and milk. Mix well
  3. Sift together dry ingredients. Add the blueberries
  4. Stir in liquid ingredients just until other ingredients are moistened. Batter will be lumpy.
  5. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full of batter
  6. Bake in preheated oven (400 degrees) for 18-20 minutes.

 

freezing berries

How To Preserve Blueberries For Winter

There are some simple ways to “put up” blueberries for Winter. Canning is a bit costly and very time-consuming. Canning requires glass jars with lids and rings.The jars have to be sterilized and the canned fruit needs to be brought to a certain temperature for the jars to seal.

Freezing blueberries is much less time consuming. Simply wash the berries and lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet with shallow sides or a cake pan. Place the cookie sheet full of berries in the freezer for a few hours. Avoid leaving them in the freezer too long to prevent freezer burn. Roll the frozen berries into a Ziploc bag, remove air and seal.

Take out a few berries later on or use the whole bag in a recipe. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be the time to try all the blueberry and crisp recipes.The payoff? Save time and money shopping for holiday food. Not to mention they will be delicious!

Another way to preserve blueberries without spending a lot of time is by drying them. Spread the berries on trays and cover with cheese cloth. Place the trays in a sunny location for drying. A food hydra-tor can also be used to dry blueberries. Use the dried berries in granola recipes. Or just eat them! The same antioxidant is still there, and still free.

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Blueberry Jams And Jellies

Blueberry jams and jellies are popular. All those buckets of blueberries will have you feeling guilty if you don’t make a batch. A jar of homemade jam makes a great inexpensive gift for the Holidays. This recipe from Allrecipes.com uses blueberries and lemon Jell o for a quick jam that is fast and easy. Best of all, it will taste like you spent hours making it.

Blueberry Jam Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 box lemon flavored Jello

Instructions

  1. Gently crush two cups of the berries.
  2. Add the other two cups of berries and the sugar.
  3. Cook to a boil stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in the box of lemon Jello.
  5. Pour the hot jam into clean jars and refrigerate.

How easy is that? The next best part after delicious is the cost. Literally pennies per serving.