Wild Ontario Blueberries

Wild blueberries are always a delicious and exciting treat to find in the bush. Most blueberries you get at the grocery are grown from “highbush” plants not native to this cold climate and are more delicate growers. “Lowbush” berries are found across much of Ontario, often on rocky terrains nestled between the mosses and the sparse grasses, abundant in areas like Georgian Bay or Peterborough area and are extremely hardy. They love acidic soils with low pH, being under or nearby pine, spruce, or most evergreen; in sunny or shady areas with dry loamy or sandy soils. They are very short, only reaching about knee height at most, and have small almost bell-like, white/pink flowers in spring.

They start to ripen June and go right through to September some years.
All parts of the low bush blueberries are edible, but the young leaves make for a nice addition to tea or added to tobacco when dried.
In the fall, the leaves turn a reddish burnt hue.

One of my favourite traditional blueberry dishes can be made for breakfast or a snack. I don’t know the name, but a wonderful human served it to me as a mix of wild rice, blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, a drizzle of maple syrup mixed with a tiny bit of chili. Absolutely mouth-watering.

Blueberries pair well with yogurts, on top of breakfast cereals, pancakes, in smoothies, on pizza, in sauces, with poultry, beef, other meats, and even can be made into a blueberry ketchup that is great on burgers (see below).

Blueberry ketchup:
2 cups blueberries
1 small onion chopped
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ginger or 1/2 tsp fresh minced ginger
3 tbsp of maple syrup
1/4 c apple cider or wine vinegar

Combine in saucepan on medium heat until it simmers. Lower temperature and stir frequently for about 20 minutes. Blend until desired texture. Refrigerate until using.

What are your favourite blueberry recipes?

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