Berry Bonanza

The great Alaskan blueberry season strike again! As the weather waxes and wanes its way through August, the berry harvest is on. The annual pilgrimage to “secret” picking spots happens late night after work and early on weekend mornings. I notice that some of the easily accessible areas have already been ravaged by starved pickers, lone berries dangle, left behind by the berry rake.

As a highly social person, it seems a bit unusual, but I prefer to pick in solitude, with my dogs munching on nearby bushes as I lose myself in the collection of shiny jewels. Humming, in a fairly off key manner, I daydream about this year’s preservation techniques: fermented, canned in simple syrup, dried, frozen and jam!

Did you know that Alaskan blueberries have a very high antioxidant level? Based on the ORAC test, Alaskan blueberries score a 76 compared to 24 for farmed blueberries, more than 3 times the amount! And, AK berries are practically free, even when factoring in the price of gas, they cost mere pennies compared to the $6.99 for a pint of organic blueberries at the store. Of course, the perks to picking continue, a day spent on a mountainside with a little light hiking keeps us moving and off the couch. Get your pick on!

What will you do with your harvest?

Sherrill Collins, MS, RD, LD



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