It’s summer time, and the pickings are good! We’re up in the Northeast mountains this week, enjoying a lot of wonderful blueberries and thinking about BEARS.
Why do bears get associated with blueberries? We’ve got 2 theories. One, there’s a wonderful children’s book set in Maine called Blueberries for Sal, in which little country Sal goes out picking blueberries, and a little bear follows behind her, eating all of the berries out of Sal’s bucket. Both of them have lost their mothers, and at the end, both return home, tummies full of berries and adventure.
Two, black bears actually do eat a lot of blueberries! According to Wiseaboutbears.org, black bears can eat about 30,000 berries in a year. They’re very nutritious, and give bears a hearty dose of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Manganese, as well as antioxidants. Bears don’t need that stress of worrying about free radicals. Both bears and blueberry bushes prosper in the mountains, where the blueberry bush enjoys acidic rocky soil and good irrigation from winter snow and spring rain, and bears have lots of good things to eat in the summer and cozy caves to hibernate in for the winter. It’s a match made in mountain heaven.
Bears are cool, berries are delicious. And so, late in August, it’s time to hit up your local farmer’s market and buy up all of the bumper crop discount berries, if you’re lucky enough to live where they grow! If you’re thinking about what to do with all of your blueberries (or peaches, or blackberries, or apricots, or late cherries and strawberries), we’ve got some good ol’ country recipes below. (Check out our Summer Going Down in Flames post for a recipe on what to do with late summer veggies) One for a porridge! And the other for a cobbler, which is a real hit at family parties. We hope you’ve enjoyed your summers, little bears.
- A lot of blueberries
- Pat of butter (coconut oil for vegan)
- Maple syrup or brown sugar
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- Splash of vanilla
- As many oats as you want (rolled or quick)
- Some water
- Optional milk or peanut butter
- Melt your butter or oil in a saucepan on medium heat, and then add your blueberries. Boil them for about 10 minutes, adding water as needed to keep them from burning to the pan. Add sugar if you’d like – the more sugar, the sweeter the porridge, which can be otherwise tart.
- Add oats, more water (enough to keep the mixture liquidy – the water will cook down and you can add more depending on your texture preference), cinnamon, and vanilla. If you are adding milk, which makes a creamier and more filling porridge, do it now. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until the oats seem gooey.
- Remove from heat, optional add peanut butter for protein and a PB&J flavor. Serve with yogurt drizzled with maple syrup.