All about blueberry > From the market to your plate
They should be firm, blue verging on black in some places, and with a nice “frosted” bloom.
In Quebec, hand picking of blueberries (for the fresh market) begins in late July, whereas comb picking (for freezing) starts a week or two later and continues until mid-September.
This is the prime time of the year to enjoy them, but did you know that 95% of the Quebec wild blueberry crop is frozen? This preservation process allows all the berries' freshness and nutrients to be captured within 24 hours of picking. That way, you can enjoy them all year round! However, you have the chance to enjoy them fresh for about 4 weeks - don't miss it! A wild blueberry is a little parcel of delight that bursts in your mouth. Check your market or fruit stand to get them at their peak of freshness.
In eastern Canada, hand-picking of blueberries to be sold fresh begins in late July, while the “rake” harvest of berries to be frozen starts one to two weeks later and continues until mid-September.
Ask about the berries’ provenance. Keep in mind that wild blueberries are smaller, more flavorful and sweeter than their cultivated cousins.
Unwashed, blueberries will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
They can be frozen after being washed and dried to remove all traces of moisture.
To avoid handling them, leave the blueberries in their little plastic basket and pass them quickly under cold running water.
Blueberries are perfect for tarts and pies, puddings, cakes or clafoutis, adding to muffins and doughnuts, or making into syrups, jelly and liqueurs.
Add some blueberries to your apple-based recipes; sweeten with maple syrup.
Add blueberries to rhubarb compote or jam.
Make a blueberry butter to accompany poultry.
Blend some blueberries into your pancake batter. Serve with a blueberry sauce.
A fresh and delicious addition to fromage blanc (fresh white cheese).
A soup of berries covered with spiced wine sweetened with honey or brown sugar.
Sorbet – Heat the fruit with sugar, a sprig of tarragon and lime juice. Purée in a blender and freeze.
Blueberry Mirror – Fold some gelatin and whipped cream into a blueberry coulis. In a springform pan, cover a sponge cake with this mixture and refrigerate for several hours before removing from the pan.
Try… rabbit with blueberries! At the end of the cooking time, add some beer, honey and blueberries to the cooking juices. Whisk some butter into the sauce.
In vinaigrette – vegetable oil, Dijon mustard, blueberry juice and honey
As jam – with country bread, goat cheese and/or duck rillettes.
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