Monday, June 14, 2010

Ozark Mountain Blueberries

If you are looking for proof in a loving, benevolent God, look no further than the humble blueberry. They are loaded with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins while being low in calories and filled with flavor. I love these little blue guys. And I loved them even more when I met Paul Lais last year at Soulard Farmers Market.

One Saturday last summer, I was looking for some local blueberries. There were none at Tower Grove. So I headed to Soulard, where I had heard there lots of them. I had nearly walked around the whole market and only seen little blueberries packaged in plastic clamshells that were clearly not from around these parts, when, like an oasis, I came upon the Ozark Mountain stand. Blueberries everywhere. The guy said that he grew them down in Springfield, MO and suggested I sample one. Tart and sweet at the same time. Amazing. I bought a bunch of them. Then, every Saturday after, I went back and bought more. I remember the last time I talked to Paul. I said, "Next weekend is the 4th of July. Are you gonna be here?" He said he would be.

Well, it was raining cats and dogs on the 4th of July. I got up, got dressed and headed to Soulard. By the time I parked and got in, I was soaked. I made my way over the the Ozark Mountain stand and it was empty. No blueberries. No Paul. And that was the last time I ever saw either one of them.

Luckily I had the foresight to stockpile and freeze. I think we finally ran out of our stored berries back in February. The happy ending to the story? It's blueberry season right now and Paul and his berries are back in Soulard. I bought a gallon last Saturday and God willing, I will buy another gallon next Saturday.

Frozen blueberries are great in muffins, pancakes, cobblers, and pies. In fact, you name it and you can probably substitute frozen for fresh. Don't thaw them, just add them as they are. Here's how I freeze mine for future use.

Step 1: Rinse and spread on a towel. Pick through for stems and funky berries.

Aren't they perfect looking? I'm obsessed with these berries! (Blueberry fun fact: blueberries contain the same compound that cranberries contain that help prevent and eliminate urinary tract infections.)

Step 2: Spread in a single layer on a waxed paper lined baking sheet.

Step 3: Place in freezer until they are frozen solid. (I guess an hour would probably work. I usually put them in there and forget about them for a few hours.)

Step 4: Measure out 2 cup portions, bag in vacuum bags and suck all the air out. I label with date and origin as well.

During the winter, I find that our frozen Springfield berries taste better than the fresh ones available in the supermarket.


  1. Nice new look mtoo.

    And good to know about the berries. We eat lots of blueberries in our house too. Gonna have to go visit Paul myself ;-)

  2. Thanks. I wasn't trying to update the look, but somehow ended up here and couldn't undo it. Good thing I like it.

    I hope you enjoy those berries as much as I do. I sound like a blueberry stalker, but I really love these berries! Plus Soulard on a Saturday is always a good time.