It’s berry season across the country. With the high temps in FL we kick off berry season extra early, which means we are just coming to an end while everyone else is at the peak. Every year we visit the u-pick farms and pick enough to last us the year. This year we started with 50+ pounds of strawberries, moved on to 50+ pounds of blueberries, and now we are finishing up with blackberries. We’re close to Plant City, so we are lucky to be surrounded by berry farms and have multiple options for delicious organic berries. Eating organic can get expensive, but visiting local farms, buying in bulk, and doing some of the work ourselves helps to trim the costs. Depending on where it is in the season organic strawberries are $2.50-4.50 per pound at the grocery store. Picking them ourselves we pay $1.50-$2.00/lb.
Going to u-picks are also a great form of exercise. The more you move the more you get to eat! To find a local farm near you search http://www.localharvest.org/ for listings. If you don’t have any luck there ask around at your local farmers market, check craigslist, google, and facebook.
One of my favorite spring activities is blueberry picking early in the morning. The bushes are wet with dew and the birds are chirping. Something about it is so calming. I love to find my way to the tallest bushes and push my way though the branches until I’m surrounded by a thick of blueberries. I feel like a little kid lost in a forest. I might like to sneak some blueberries in there too. Gary and I joke that we have a 1 for the bucket, 9 in our mouths picking style. Our farm encourages tasting as they have 11 different varieties of blueberries on the fields. And tasting we do. If you’re in the Tampa Bay Area, definitely check out Owen’s Blueberry Farm. It’s about the only thing Hudson has going for it.
All these berries means needing to get creative in the kitchen. I usually make a ton of fruit leathers with the strawberries and use the blueberries for sauces and smoothies. I wanted to do something different and have been trying new ways to incorporate collagen into my diet for the gut healing benefits. I just can’t seem to force myself to down the aloe juice my doctor wants me drinking and these gummies are a much tastier alternative.
Hubby and I devoured the first dish before I could take any photos for this post. If you have molds you can make all different designs and shapes. I just use a pyrex glass dish and cut them into bites. I’m totally stalking Amazon for cute molds though.
- 2.5 cups blackberries (frozen or fresh)
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup water
- 5-6 TBS maple syrup or honey
- ½ cup of gelatin
- Blend blackberries, lemon juice, and water until thick, but liquid.
- **Optional** Strain the berries through cheese cloth or a small mesh strainer to remove the seeds. You don’t have to do this, but if you don’t be prepared to be picking seeds out of your teeth.
- Pour liquid into a small saucepan and heat over medium. Whisk in honey until dissolved.
- Add gelatin slowly and keep whisking until well combined. It gels fast so keep whisking! Any clumps will stay clumped, so whisk them out.
- Pour liquid into molds or a 9x13 glass dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.
- Cut into bite or snack size servings and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Will keep a week plus, but they are sure to be gone well before then.