Today I was out of the house by 7am, that was after feeding the animals, walking the dog, checking the dehydrating pineapple, showering and a quick breakfast. I headed up the Taconic Parkway to Red Hook, NY – about 1 1/2 hours away. I love driving the Taconic – no trucks and the scenery is beautiful. I was the first picker at Greig farm, arriving around 8:30. It had rained yesterday, so the bushes and berries were wet, made my fingers wrinkle and the weather had cooled off to a lovely 68 degrees – I even needed a light jacket. After picking about 6 pounds, which fills one bucket – the jacket came off and the sun glasses went on. By 11:30 I had picked 12 pounds and exceeded the needed additional 7 pounds.
Of course, then it was off to Gigi Market for the mouth-watering Bianca Skizza. All I can say is YUM! I can only eat about half of it, so for dinner tonight is the leftover, cold, with a nice glass on wine.
I headed south on the Taconic until I hit I-84, over the Hudson River into Newburgh and my next destination – Lawrence Farms. They are not a certified organic farm, but they do not spray and they use natural remedies for bug, etc. problems. There I picked apricots, almost 7 pounds. I will dehydrate some and then make apricot & mango jam later in the week.
I decided I would dehydrate some blueberries since I had over my 30 pounds. Last year I dehydrated some, but moisture got into the jar and they molded. This year I invested in a jar sealer attachment for my food saver – hoping that will make the difference.
In order to dehydrate blueberries you need to make sure that the skin is cracked, if not they will not dehydrate. Last year I put them in boiling water and then on the tray and I tried a new method this year with boiling water and dipping a collander. It is really messy and you have to be careful that you do not stain anything with the juice that drips – my fingers will be stained for a couple of days I am sure. The other disadvantage to this method is that the blueberries are hot and harder to place on the tray.
I then tried the other method – place the blueberries on the tray and then take a knife and put a small slice into each one. I was able to put about 1 1/2 cups of blueberries on each tray. I think I prefer this method. It was easier to place the blueberries around and the slicing did not take anytime at all.
I have washed and put aside the blueberries I will need to make jam. The jam making I will do either tonight when it has cooled down some or first thing in the morning. Now to freeze the remaining blueberries and then the blueberry season, at least for me, is done!