Usually, mom and I pick several gallon zip bags worth of berries from our bushes, but this year my timing was wrong when I scheduled big family work project which kept me away from the house for 4 days, the wrong 4 days I guess.
One year we tried netting the bushes to keep the birds from eating the berries...but we caught a Flicker (bird with a big beak something like a woodpecker) and had quite a job of untangling his feet and wings from the net in order to release him. Really the only thing to get more than the birds do (besides building a screen cage around them...hint hint...) is to be watchful, and get out there and pick!
Well, anyways, I just had to share pictures with your because I can't get over the size of these blueberries. They are GIGANTIC! Ours are usually much smaller sized, maybe because our bushes are really old? or needing a good trimming? or fertilizing? I am not sure, but my plan is to give them a good pruning when cool weather comes this year, really get the weeds cleaned up around them, and maybe mulch around the base of the bushes too.
Ok, so now what do I do with the berries?! Well, there are blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins, and blueberry pie...well...you get the point...but since we can't eat them all up right away--into the freezer they go! (If you haven't guess by now, after reading in all these recent posts I've put up about freezing fresh produce, we have a great big freezer for storing this stuff.)
Even though I am normally very particular about washing things, blueberries are one crop that I do NOT usually wash before freezing. We do not use any spray on ours so I am not worried about chemicals...and I think it is just too much trauma on the tender berries giving them mushy spots, in addition to helping the berries freeze all together in a lump. I simply sort through the berries, and pick out any dried up blossoms that may be stuck on the berries, and throw away any that are otherwise yukky...etc, etc. Then, like many other fruits and veggies I put up in the freezer, I flash freeze the blueberries on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet before bagging them in zip bags. The bagged berries last quite a while before getting too frosty, but I have found a use for them even when they are icy--I put the berries in a strainer, rinse the ice off with water, place the berries in a pan, add some sugar, and start cooking them over medium heat. Cook them down til nice and thick, then use as a topping on ice cream or waffles, or mixed with cream cheese as filling inside of crepes! (My youngest brother (14) is becoming quite good in the kitchen a delicious recipe for crepes! YUM!)