Living the cottage life, Alaskan style!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Berry Picking

I've been thinking about becoming more self-sufficient with the food we eat.  We grow a small garden on our back deck--lettuce greens, swiss chard, tomatoes, herbs, celery, etc.  Simple things.  But lately I'm been thinking we need to do more.  We need to be more self-sufficient.  We need to be more in charge of what's going into our bodies. 

We have a smoothie most mornings for breakfast and although we always try to buy fresh, when affordable, even a small bag of frozen fruit generally runs about $4.95.  Our drinks cost us about $25 a week in just berries.  So my husband and I thought, "let's pick our own!"  We don't have self-pick farms in Juneau.  We don't have ANY farms in Juneau, but we do have wild salmon berries, blueberries, some huckleberries, and other low bush berries like cranberry, nagoon, etc.  If we could put gallons of berries in our freezer, it would save us a bundle. 

So my hubby and I went on the search for the allusive salmon berry this weekend.  Yea, we didn't have much luck.

While shopping at Fred Meyer, we noticed five pound boxes of blueberries for $12.00.  That was a great price, so we bought a box thinking we would freeze them. 

After trying a handful or two or three, we decided we needed more, so headed back to Fred Meyer and bought four more boxes!   

Before bagging them, instructions say to lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them.  So I did.  After bagging them, I think we had 12 quarts and decided that wasn't nearly enough berries to hold us through the winter, so went back and bought four more boxes! 

We're feeling pretty good about our "bounty" at this point, even though we didn't grow or personally harvest the berries.  So back up the mountain we went to find some local blueberries that we could pick and freeze.  And we found some.  They were pretty small, but just the right size for blueberry pancakes. 

I love that my husband loves doing things with me.  Like berry picking.  In a heavy coastal mist.  In and around wet bushes.  By the time we were done picking berries, we were drenched from our waist down.  My socks swished when I walked!  But we had fun, and we picked about two gallons of wonderfully tart little berries. 

I can hardly wait to go berry picking again.  Next time I'll dress for the weather better and maybe even devise a berry picking can to wear around my waist.  This is how we picked as kids.  It's time to get back to the basics. 

Later! Nancy

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