Maine Blueberries

#atozchallenge | B is for Blueberry Picking with Mémère Rose

Memere RoseMy grandmother was unflappable. Mémère could fall asleep in a room full of chaos. Nothing ever seemed to bother her. She had no hesitation taking her young granddaughter into the deep Maine woods to go blueberry picking, even though her granddaughter had a life threatening allergy to bees. Clearly she was right, because no catastrophe ever occurred but rather just wonderful memories eating handfuls of blueberries right from the bushes.

I remember many outings, where we would walk deep into the Maine woods to find the best blueberry bushes to pick from during blueberry season. These were in the days before the evolution of pick-your-own farms. This was old school. She knew where the blueberries were and had mad skills picking them.

She had created a hands free collection system by stringing ragged strips of material through nail holes she had punched in large recycled metal coffee cans, back in the days before Keurig. Although, for the amount of blueberries I collected as a young girl, I probably only needed a k-cup sized collection bucket. Not my grandmother though, she could fill can after can with blueberries during a single outing. In addition to the hands free cans, we would bring larger buckets to dump our blueberries into when we would finish filling our smaller ones, so that we could continue picking. I never filled up my smaller can let alone the larger bucket, but my grandmother would sneak some of her blueberries into my bucket so I always left with a smile.

Because of her skills, and her great love of blueberry picking, I grew up with a constant supply of blueberries in my house. They were a year round treat as we would freeze bag after bag to use later. One of my favorite snacks as a young girl, was a bowl full of frozen blueberries – nature’s Popsicles.

My grandmother never slowed down and picked blueberries into her nineties. Blueberries are a superfood after all!  While in later years, we no longer trekked deep into the Maine woods but instead found more accessible pick-your-own locations, she still had a passion for blueberries, and got to share her expertise and love of blueberry picking with her great-granddaughters.

Sadly, all the delicious things she use to make with the blueberries she picked are lost as she didn’t really keep recipes. She cooked things from memory, and while we did have the foresight to write some of them down, there are no blueberry specific ones to be found. But, over the years, I’ve collected some favorite blueberry recipes of my own.

In memory of Mémère Rose and the many wonderful days spent picking blueberries, here is a link to one of my favorites from Cooking Light (Published July 1, 1998) for a Blueberry Pound Cake. I’ve made this one many times. It’s absolutely delicious, although nothing compares to a handful of fresh blueberries straight from the branch.

I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2016. I will be posting new content every day except Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Life in Maine, and each post will in some way relate to Maine. There are over 1500 other bloggers participating in the challenge. Click HERE to learn more.

Blueberry Picking

Blueberry Picking

WIM Signature

36 thoughts on “#atozchallenge | B is for Blueberry Picking with Mémère Rose

  1. Kathy Hentz says:

    Oh the sweet, sweet blueberry memories!!! I always found it amazing that she knew the best secret places to go for picking large quantities of them. Especially the large ones, “ballons” she called them. Aunt Rose taught us patience, team work, good work ethics, and how to have fun.
    I think I’ll make some blueberry muffins from scratch this morning to honor her. Thank you for the memory, Karen. ❤

    Like

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      That sounds like fun too! My Dad and Uncle planted a bunch of blackberry and raspberry bushes in my grandmother’s front yard for her so that she could just go out and pick them. I tried to transplant a few to my yard after she passed, but did not have any luck. There is nothing better than fresh berries.

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  2. Dickie says:

    Just a note, Memere Rose had two sons, during the blueberry season, she would bribe them
    by offering to take them to Kennebunk pond beach to swim if they filled their buckets with her.
    Needless to say, we always did, Dickie

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  3. Patricia says:

    Grandmothers are a treasure. One of my grandmothers taught me to crochet and the other taught me to always plant marigolds around tomato plants and to see the faces of pansies.

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  4. Aßßie (@theabbies) says:

    Super thanks for visiting me at Abbie’s Adventure Diaries.
    What a beautiful post and I adore your grandmother. I have lost mine [my mother’s mom] and she was the only grandparent I got. She, too, made some traditional recipes that the family treasured. My mother tried re-creating them but she couldn’t seem to get the same flavor. I remember, when Nani was still with us, I made a special dessert she used to make when she was healthy and able. She tasted it and she smiled the most precious smile and said to me that it was exactly the way she used to make. Ever since, the foods that I make and are her specialty taste the same way she used to make them — according to Mom. I guess she blessed me!
    I’ve bookmarked you! Shall keep visiting!
    Abbie’s Adventure Diaries [http://abbiesadventurediaries.blogspot.com]
    Fellow April A to Z Challenge 2016 Participant

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    • Weekends in Maine says:

      That’s great that you’ve been able to keep a connection to your grandmother’s memory through cooking her special dishes. I wish I had more recipes from my grandmother although I did inherit her love of cooking. Thank you for checking out my blog.

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  5. trishafaye says:

    I love this post about blueberries and your grandmother. I’m working on a book loosely based on my grandmother’s life. (Lots of real life snippets embellished with a lot of fiction.) I think grandmother’s are the most special people on earth! Thank you for sharing your blueberry picking memories with us!

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  6. dyannedillon says:

    That’s a lovely story! I make my family pick blueberries every summer at a pick-your-own farm near here and freeze them for use all year. I love eating them frozen and (family’s favorite) in blueberry coffee cake.

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  7. Keith Channing says:

    We used to do a similar thing with blackberried. The whole family would cycle through lanes whose edges were festooned with masses of brambles covered in the small, black berries. These days, sadly, the lanes are now roads, and traffic levels are so much higher than in the 1950s and early 1960s that the fruit would be tainted by vehicle exhausts, even if it were safe to stand at the roadside picking them.
    Living now in a very rural location in the middle of France, the blackberries are okay to pick – my Jack Russell Terrier even picks his own, but those he picks don’t go into the carrier!

    Keith Channing A-Zing from http://keithkreates.com

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    • Weekends in Maine says:

      Yes, so much has changed with where you can pick these days. Fortunately, there are many pick your own farms close to where I am so I can still venture out although it’s not the same as picking them in the wild. That’s wonderful that you have blackberries where you are. Those are so good too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Keith Channing says:

        We have one thornless plant, which has designs on taking over a sizeable chunk of our land but whose fruits aren’t the best. Trying to prevent the wild variety from taking over the perimeters of our acre of France is a bit of a losing battle.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. XmasDolly says:

    I am so glad you stopped by because now I get to meet your sweetie pie gramma!!! My mom was just like her about falling asleep, and so was my gramma. I remember when I was little gramma would stay up until the flag was on the TV and playing “Oh, say can you see….” and if you work her up before that she’d say leave me alone I’m watching TV. She would only go to bed when the flag came on. bwahahahaha… my mom she moved to Las Vegas and I remember going there to visit her and her little dime would be between her thumb and index finger right by the slot and she’d be sitting there with her eyes closed. Oh I miss those two characters… but I love your Post and thank you for bringing back something I haven’t thought of in ages. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Your Post is excellent. I never had the opportunity to go picking anything except once with gramma when she was down by the creek by my aunts picking gardooni not sure about that spelling, but spell check says it’s right. It’s a plant that the Italians make boiling the heck out of it and then frying it up with eggs. Have a great day! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  9. Molly says:

    There is nothing like Maine blueberries!

    I do have fond memories of blueberry picking with my young children here in the midwest. We would pick far more than we could ever eat… but fortunately they freeze well 🙂

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    • Weekends in Maine says:

      I’ve tried a few times to grow some bushes in my yard but haven’t had any luck. That’s nice that you have some blueberry bushes close by although too bad the birds love them as much as we do.

      Like

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