By Kari Svenneby
There is nothing wrong with cultivated blueberries, but nothing beats the taste and color of blueberries picked wild in the bush. Living in colder climates has some benefits; we get to pick wild blueberries.
I still remember the days my parents took me blueberry picking as a child. Now I have come full circle and bring my children to Norway to the same low bush blueberries that I picked as a child. Just the other day on our vacation I was inspecting my 11-month-old daughter’s shirts as I half cringed, half celebrated the blueberry stains she made as she sat in the bush and picked berries and greedily stuffed them in her mouth.
I was happy to discover that Canada and parts of the US are also blessed with these wonderful plants that are filled with vitamins A, C and E, calcium and magnesium and antioxidants.
Did you know that David Suzuki thinks the wild blueberry should be Canada’s national plant? From Newfoundland to the Yukon, parents and kids are harvesting blueberries. Blueberries are an important food source for many animals in the wild.
In the U.S. you can find wild blueberries it the northeast part and in Alaska
Maine is the largest exporter of wild blueberries in North America.
If you ever have a chance to go wild blueberries picking, make sure you take it.
The art of picking wild blueberries
In Scandinavia you are allowed to pick berries anywhere in the forest regardless of it being private land or national park thanks to the law known as “the right to roam”. Find out what rules and laws affect you in your state or province before you go out for a hike to pick berries.
To go blueberry picking you have to be prepared for walking. So wear cloths and good hiking shoes as you would with any hike. I also like to wear long pants and bring plenty of water and food for the gang.
If you are going to pick a lot of berries it is good idea to have a berry rake that have small and closely spaced tines that rake the berries from the bush very efficiently.
Small buckets with handles are great for gathering your berries.
Make sure you have clothing that you are not afraid of getting stained. Wild blueberries are REALLY blue and stain your fingers and cloths.
Be patient with kids who like to eat berries more than putting them in their buckets. Their collecting might not be so efficient in amount picked. Their measure of success is the smile on their face.
If you are not so lucky to live by the nature’s wonders, head to your local farmer’s market and see if you can buy some wild blueberries.