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Statewide Homegrown 0

It’s Time to Pick Blueberries in Arkansas

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The warm Arkansas weather means it’s time for fresh produce, farmer’s markets, and pulling out our favorite summer recipes to share with friends. We’ve had to miss a lot of joyous occasions this spring, but there’s one thing we can still count on: picking blueberries. Berry picking has always been one of my favorite summertime activities. Everyone in the family can pick and everyone can enjoy this delicious healthy fruit.

Growing Blueberries in Arkansas

Blueberries are one of the fruits that grow extremely well in the Arkansas sunshine. The plump, juicy berries grow best in acidic soil with a pH level of 5.0 and they love full sun. If you are unsure about your soil composition, your local extension agency can test it for you and let you know what you need to add to it to make it ideal for achieving the perfect pH level for blueberries.

But, to enjoy a wonderful supply of blueberries on your own property, you must be patient. During the first year of planting the blueberry plants are working on establishing their root systems so you shouldn’t expect much production from them. But, if you take care of the plants and keep them deeply watered, fertilized, and pruned, then you will be able to enjoy an abundance of blueberries year after year as your plants thrive under your tender care.

My family has planted several blueberry plants on our property that are still developing and growing. We get a small harvest each year, but somehow the berries never seem to make it inside the house. The bushes are used as a continual snack for the kids playing outside.

So, to compensate, each year we make it a point to visit a blueberry farm to pick an abundance of berries at one time that actually will make it inside the house.

We are so thankful for the farmers in Arkansas who allow the public to pick berries. It is a rewarding experience to be able to show children how our food is grown and where it comes from by watching them pick ripe, round blueberries from a bush and fill a bucket full of delicious snacks. Of course, a small percentage of those blueberries do not make it to the bucket because they snack as they are picking. So, when you pick blueberries at a local farm, be sure to tip the owners for their kindness and generosity toward children.

This year, after our blueberry picking palooza, I asked everyone what kind of treat they wanted me to make with our blueberries. I was met with shouts and requests from the group for “Blueberry Pancakes! Blueberry Waffles! Blueberry Muffins! Blueberry Ice-Cream! Blueberry Cobbler!”

With all of the blueberries we came away with, there will be plenty to make all of their requests. But, the first thing we did was make a lemon blueberry poppyseed bread. There is something sweet and simple about the combination of blueberries and lemon that welcomes the warmer weather in Arkansas.

We all enjoyed our bread on the back porch soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the fruits of our labor picking.

When we make treats in our house, we always try to use recipes that make enough that there is plenty to share. This recipe does just that. It makes two loaves. So, you can enjoy one and share one with an Arkansas neighbor. This recipe makes a moist quick loaf bread that any friend or neighbor would be happy to receive.

Lemon Blueberry Poppyseed Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 ½ Cups Sugar
  • 1 ½ Cup Milk
  • 1 ¼ cup Cooking Oil (Canola or Vegetable)
  • 1 Tablespoon Poppyseeds
  • 1 ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 ½ Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 3 Cups Flour
  • Zest From 1 Large Lemon
  • ½ Cup Lemon Juice (OR from fresh lemons)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3-5 Tablespoons of milk

Directions:

  1. Cream the eggs and sugar together
  2. Add the oil, milk, poppy seeds, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and almond extract to the sugar and egg mixture. Blend well.
  3. Add the flour to the mixture and stir well until blended.
  4. Add the zest of one large lemon, lemon juice, and blueberries to the mixture. Blend well.
  5. The batter will be runny. Pour the batter into two greased loaf pans.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F° for 1 hour.
  7. Check the loaves every 15 minutes after the one hour until they are done. They are done when a knife will come out clean.
  8. Let the loaves cool in the pans.
  9. Take the loaves out of the pans and add a lemon glaze to the top.

LEMON GLAZE

  1. Mix together 1 cup of powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk.
  2. Add the juice of a lemon to the mixture. Blend well.
  3. Add one tablespoon of milk to the mixture until it is slightly runny.
  4. Pour the glaze over the top of each Lemon Blueberry Poppyseed loaf.
  5. Let stand for 3 minutes.
  6. Serve and Enjoy! Don’t forget to take one to an Arkansas neighbor.

We hope you enjoy this recipe and make it soon. Another family favorite memory with blueberries is the time that we celebrated Arkansas and flag day with blueberries. Click Here to read about it, and also find a list of possible blueberry patches in Arkansas that allow the public to pick. Be sure to call before you go because many locations are changing their policies and regulations due to COVID-19.

 

 

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Arkansas Women Blogger member Amanda Farris is a wife to her super hero hunk of a husband and a mother to 3 little kiddos. She is a teacher/coach who hung up her coaching whistle after she got promoted to motherhood. She is a runner who loves all things sports and outdoors. She loves long coffee chats with her husband,fresh flowers on her table, and hosting game nights. Her friends would call her a "gatherer of people" who loves building genuine community. She's just Living the Adventure!. You can find her occasionally blogging at amandafarris.org.

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