Where wild blueberries grow

After a 3 hour drive north along the highway we turned left at the towering old train bridge. One quick, winding road down to the water and we had arrived at the loading point. Under the glorious sun we stretched our limbs and inhaled deeply the fragrant, clean air. We unloaded our Fiat, Hubs found a parking spot, and – with perfect timing- our friend pulled up at the dock in her boat. We loaded in our bags of provisions and eagerly sped out into the bay, pulling into the dock on a private island just 30 minutes later. And there, just to the right of the dock and a few steps into the forest, you could see the blueberries. Vibrant blue, beckoning.

Though the forest was full and ripe for picking, the first patch to be emptied was closer yet. Just outside the wall of french doors and across a large, grey-weathered wood patio. A sharp veer to the right, carefully stepping over the giant tree roots, and there they lay waiting. The first morning, while I was sunbathing and devouring the latest issue of Elle, hubs and E. disappeared- only to return a few minutes later, containers full of sweet blue gems, grinning like children on Christmas. “Open up and you’re welcome!” Hubs laughed as he popped a few in my mouth.

AH!! The deliciousness of fresh-picked, wild blueberries! Honest to goodness I laughed out loud. Yes, I’ve had them before (at the same cottage, even!) but it’s something the taste buds forget after time. Good. If they didn’t, how could you ever want to eat anything else? Bursting pops of condensed sweet goodness- freshly picked… pure joy in your mouth. The blueberries immediately went into pancakes for breakfast- topped with maple syrup. Blueberry pancakes are seriously the best.

Though pancakes are delicious, we also wanted a weekend of simple and so I had prepared a big batch of this granola (slightly altered to accommodate our hosts allergy to almonds and hazelnuts) to bring for breakfasts. Of course, once we had arrived  and  realized that there were blueberries, ripe and ready, the granola just couldn’t be served as it was. Hubs and I headed out to the forest the next morning to pick (and eat). Hoods up to protect our heads from the annoying, buzzing deer flies, we moved as fast as we could. Lifting a branch close to the ground often revealed hidden treasures- limbs so bountiful and heavy with fruit that you could simply shake the berries off and into the bowl. Crouching low to reach the loot, I  wondered again at nature, amazed at how something so sweet and delicate can grow on such rocky, stern and sometimes unforgiving land.

As for the granola, I can’t encourage you enough to try your hand making your own! It is so easy to make and adapt- and tastes   a bajillion times better than the store bought stuff. For this batch, out went almonds, in went cashews, and the recipe was doubled. Also added in this time around- pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, cocoa nibs (indulgence!), dried coconut (indulgence, again!) and sesame seeds. We loaded it up with the freshly picked blueberries and enjoyed it alongside a pot of steaming hot coffee. Total perfection.

 {additional baking notes}

Mix together the dry ingredients. In another bowl mix the wet (maple or brown rice syrup, a little oil- I like sesame, olive or avocado) along with the salt and spices. Mix the two together until the dry ingredients are coated, spread on a baking sheet or two then bake 10 minute at 350, flip and bake another 10 minutes. Add delicate ingredients like coconut, dried fruits, or cocoa nibs in just before the end of baking then bake 5 minutes longer. Watch the granola throughout, as each oven is different so cooking times might vary. Basically, the granola will turn golden and you know it’s done. Don’t worry if it’s not totally dry- it’ll crunch up a bit as it cools.

Can’t have nuts? Add in lots of yummy seeds instead. Serve as is, or with the freshest berry or fruit of the season. Enjoy!!!

{click the link in the post, or right here, for the original recipe post}

The Dainty Pig - August 8, 2013 - 6:49 pm

Gorgeous photos!!!!!!

Blaine Arin @ Feel-good Food - August 8, 2013 - 7:51 pm

Oh, wow. I want to dive into that bowl of blueberries.

Lovely post! I’m in the mood to stray from my tried and true granola recipes (gasp), I’ll happily give yours a go. xo

Suzanne @RollWithIt - August 9, 2013 - 12:55 pm

Beautiful photos Shauna! Stunning!

tara - August 19, 2013 - 10:32 am

This is truly beautiful! We are in the midst of blueberry season here, too, and I can’t seem to get enough.

Shauna - August 21, 2013 - 10:03 am

Tara, thank you!! and thanks for stopping by! agreed. I’m stalking the markets and our little corner store in hopes of finding some to freeze for the winter!

Suzanne, thank you!! it was so gorgeous at the cottage… I wish I’d picked up the camera a bit more!!

Blaine, it’s a constantly evolving project here depending on the day… stay tuned for a ridiculously tasty and simple dessert recipe with granola… you’re going to love it!!

Jess, thanks! I fall a bit more in love with photography every time I get to pick up my camera…. feels like not enough as of late, but I guess that’s the stuff of life!!

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