The Story of Our Pickled Blueberries
Farmer Harley tried pickled blueberries for the first time at a fundraiser for Quillisascut Farm School. The school's cookbook, Chef's On the Farm, by Shannon Borg and Lora Lea Misterly was being launched and Harley had been the photographer. (During the project Harley spent a year shooting organic farming practices and seasonal, local cooking.) The dish being served that evening was a wild salmon with fresh pickled blueberries and creme fraiche by the farm school's Chef Kären Jurgensen. Having just bought the blueberry farm and finding out that our heirloom blueberries really weren't good for fresh market sales Harley had an "aha" moment. He knew what we could do with the tiny, hard to hand pick berries. Harley excitedly told Susan "Let's figure out how to pickle and preserve blueberries!" Over the next six months, Susan and cousin Betsy perfected the combination of spice for the pickle while Harley researched blueberries, pickling and preserving methods. Through much trial and error, a true whole pickled blueberry that could withstand the heat of preservation was created from the rare Stanley variety. It delivers a crisp burst of sweet & tangy deliciousness with each bite. It became a perfect companion to artisan cheeses, deviled eggs, salmon, duck, paté, curries, salads, grains, cocktails, ice cream, yogurt and more. What makes the process work is that the heirloom variety used has a thick skin that keeps its shape during the canning process. Modern varieties bred for size and shipping durability just don't hold up in the process and turn to mush. Bow Hill's Heirloom Pickled Blueberries are a finalist for their second Good Food Award this winter! Wish them luck!