Blueberry Obsession

It is as if nature knew there was a recession going on and responded accordingly for Islanders who had planned to make jam for Christmas gifts this year. Or maybe it’s just all the rain we’ve had. But highbush blueberries are loaded with fruit and if you’re a hardy picker you’ve been busy out in the woods, perhaps with a sturdy coffee can in hand. It can be an obsession, really, knowing that all those berries are out there ready to be picked, and they’ll go by in the heat if you don’t act soon. But what about the long hours on the job in the summer? Make it work; fit in some picking in the early morning, or late in the day before the sun goes down. What about beach time? Forget it; there will be plenty of time for swimming and sunning in September. One coffee can holds four cups. Two equals eight. Three, twelve. Once home, wash berries, pick off stems. Spread on a cookie sheet and flash freeze, then scoop gently into plastic bags.

They’re piling up in the freezer now, thousands of frosty dark blue jewels, squirreled away for jam-making on a cold December day. And maybe just one small pie on a hot August night.