I’ve noticed a funny little trend with regard to my body and its food cravings: if I didn’t have a calendar to refer to, I could pinpoint late February/early March without fail, because every single year, this is the 2-week window in which I start craving berries like you wouldn’t believe. Blueberries and blackberries are the most-craved of the lot, but I certainly wouldn’t be averse to wild strawberries either. Why this ache happens like this every year, I have no idea, though it may have something to do with the fact that by now, I’m thoroughly sick of winter vegetables like cabbage, kale, and various roots, and am aching for something more luscious and lively.
Don’t get me wrong: I do love the acres of pickled cabbage and canned tomatoes that have sustained us over the colder months, but let’s just say that I have some solid plans for preserving significantly more fruit and such over the summer this year.
Our little village only has one real grocery store, and it takes full advantage of the dominion it holds by jacking up prices like crazypants. I managed to pick up a couple of small containers of blackberries and blueberries for only slightly less than the value of one of my kidneys, and the smoothie that ensued was the stuff of legends.
I didn’t actually measure anything when I made this, but this is an approximation of what went into it:
- A large handful of blueberries
- A large handful of blackberries
- Enough almond milk to cover them
- A few tablespoons of coconut milk
- A couple of tablespoons of fat-free blueberry yoghurt
- Dash of cinnamon
My hand blender swirled and pureed all of this into a gorgeous purple concoction, which I shared with my husband because I adore him and he puts me to sleep every night by rubbing my hands and telling me stories about ducks. Yes, he’s that perfect, and has absolutely earned half of my super-smoothie any time.
Considering how much I love berries, and how ridiculously expensive produce is at the supermarket nearby, I’ve been considering different ways to bulk up my berry stores for next winter. We’re fortunate enough to live near some farms where we can go to pick our own produce, but they also jack up prices for the many tourists and campers who spend summers up here. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to find roadside stands where people sell some of the fruit they’ve picked, and the local organic farm is putting together a CSA box this year as well, but I’d really like to take full advantage of our land and plant some bushes.
Since we live in hardiness zone 4b and have a fairly short growing season, I think I’m going to aim for a few hardy varieties of blackberry, some Saskatoon berries, lingonberries (hey, if they can thrive in Norway, they’ll do well here), gooseberries, low-bush blueberries, honeyberries (haskap), and maybe some currants. Oh, I’ll have to plant some raspberries for Sir N as well. By planting all of these, with their staggered ripening times, we’ll be in berry paradise from early June straight through to late September.
Ohhh the smoothies there shall be…