July is the blueberry season in Finland. This year, the harvest is perfect: you can find plenty of blueberries, and the berries are big and juicy. Blueberries are excellent super-food, they contain very little of calories but plenty of vitamins A, B, C and micro-nutrients such as magnesium and calcium.
Picking blueberries is a great way to spend a vacation day or unwind after a working day – hear the breeze in the trees, feel the fresh air and see the beautiful blue and green shades of the blueberry bushes. The sound of blueberries falling to your basket can be very rewarding.
You can pick blueberries by hand, or use a rake (poimuri). When picking by hands you probably get cleaner berries and don’t need to clean the berries from leaves, but your hands will dye blue. Picking with a rake allows you to pick berries faster, and you can use a colander to clean the berries. You can gently lift the blueberry bush with your other hand, to get more of blueberries and less leaves to your rake, and to avoid tearing the bush from the ground. You can find both aids from any supermarket, cost is usually less than 10 euros per piece.
Best time to pick berries is on a dry weather, because the berries are easiest to clean when they are dry as you can just shake the leaves off in a colander. Although my favorite time to go into a forest is just after it has rained, as the scents of the forest are best after rain and the air feels fresh and full of oxygen.
Just look at these blueberries, don’t they look like a basket full of black pearls? Based on their super-food quality, they might as well be pearls! And the best part of it is that these pearls are free, you just need to go to the forest and pick them.
You can enjoy the blueberries fresh with for example milk or yoghurt, or mix them to your morning porridge or cereals. You can preserve blueberries by freezing them (add a bit of organic sugar) or making blueberry jam. Blueberries make also a tasty juice, fools and are excellent for baking and desserts. My favorite – and a very traditional Finnish food – is a blueberry pie. I will share you here my favorite recipe:
2 dl oat flakes – I like especially the gluten free jumbo oats
2 dl of wheat flour or any gluten free flour
1 dl of organic sugar
Pinch of vanilla powder
100g organic butter
1-2 organic eggs
4-6dl of blueberries (or raspberry, rhubarb, etc.)
2dl of organic sour cream (in Finland you can buy especially ‘kermaviili’)
1 organic egg
0.5-1 dl organic sugar
Pinch of vanilla powder
Heat the oven to 175C and prepare the dough:
You can either whip the egg and sugar as a foam and then add melted butter and dry ingredients, or in case you don’t have a whipper you can just mix the dry ingredients and pick the butter with your hands and last mix the egg to the dough. Latter option will give you a bit rougher cookie type of texture for the dough – this is what I prefer. Depending on how dry the dough feels, you can use 1 or 2 eggs. The dough should fee quite thick. Butter a pie tin and press the dough into the tin.
If you want to make sure the dough cooks fully, you can bake the dough in the oven for 5 min before adding the filling. Or if you are lazy as I am, just add the filling on top of the dough and hope for the best 🙂 (I have not had any disappointments that way either.)
Mix the filling ingredients and pour evenly on top of the dough. Bake in the middle level of the oven for 30-40min in 175C depending on your oven. When the edges of the pie turn golden brown and the filling looks firm, the pie is ready. If you are using a glass tin, you can check that the base of the pie has also cooked to golden brown.