Okay, so I’ve made it clear that I have an obsession with fruit. With most fruits, if it doesn’t come from a farm in my area, it does not satisfy me. Fruit from outside origins is tastes strange and bland to me. I do not act this way with any other food, save desserts. I am all about sweets.
When I look back at my memories, I clearly see that this was an obsession that started when I was little and only grew with time. And it, not surprisingly, started in my own backyard.
I really don’t remember when my father first planted our blueberry bushes: they were always just there. We’ve added and subtracted from our collection over the years, but two tidy rows of four and five bushes decorate a small section of our yard, and from these four and five bushes have come many happy memories.
In June, the blueberries show themselves and my father collects both my brother and myself, and together we go to the patch and pick. This is, for me at least, a long and sweaty ordeal. Summer is my least favorite season because I despise the heat. I do, however, adore the bounty the season provides, and hence I go outside.
I vividly remember being a child with my brother, my best friend, and her older sister. We would gather on the side of my yard closest to their side of the yard under the black walnut trees. We would then gather sticks from beneath those trees and build a fort that my father would tolerate for a week. Whenever we got hungry, we would take a “Blueberry Break” and head down to the bushes to eat. I was the one who suggested these breaks the most often, and I suggested them to the point where my brother told me we wouldn’t finish the fort. On this particular occasion, my father left our fort alone for two weeks. The fort was the biggest one we ever built, and all four of us could sit in it comfortably on newspaper cushions. We talked, played Pokémon on our Gameboys, and had a blast until the novelty of it wore off and we played as we normally did without it.
Perhaps this is why my brother picks quickly and usually goes back inside first. He learned in his childhood that if he works hard now, he’ll be done quicker and can escape the misery of the heat quicker. So he returns to the air conditioning and my father lags behind only because he’s helping me fill my quart bucket. I don’t know why I pick slowly. I just do. And I must admit that a berry or two or ten doesn’t quite make it to the bucket.
Having picked four quart buckets full, we emerge from the heat into the air-conditioned cushions of the sofa in the kitchen. While we were outside, my mother has been busy baking a crust. I sit, antsy with anticipation. My mother takes half of the berries and creates a sauce with them. Then she mixes the raw berries with the sauce in the crust and puts it in the fridge.
This is where we have to wait. In order to not have blueberries cascade everywhere when we cut the pie, the pie must sit in the fridge overnight to set. I sleep, knowing that breakfast will be quite delicious.
When I wake up, I bound down the stairs. Both my parents have left for work at this point, and I am either home alone or with my brother. Either way that pie is mine.
If my mother didn’t have time to make the whipped cream that goes on top of the pie, I make it myself. It’s simple really: heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract, boom. Delightful white fluff is ready.
This pie makes summer mornings worth waking up to. We usually manage to pick and eat our way through three or four of these pies, which is fine with me.
As I said, I’m obsessed with fruit. Fruit has always been my Dad’s thing, too. He and I go to multiple fruit farms over the summer to pick and buy fresh fruit. It’s become something that the two of us do, and I love it. And where, exactly, did all this start? Between two tidy rows of blueberry bushes in my own backyard. While blueberries are a pain and a half to pick, I love them. They remind me of simpler times, of happier times, and of happy times yet to come. They remind me that the bad things will pass away soon, if only I’m willing to wait. They remind me that patience and persistence lead to sweet rewards: rewards that grow sweeter and sweeter with time.
So I pick blueberries with my family. So I pick blueberries with the summer sun. So I reap what I sow, and the harvest is good.
8 cups (4 quarts) of blueberries
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 cup flour
2/3 cup Crisco
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
First: make the crust. Mix the flour with the Crisco and then add enough water to make it a dough (usually around ¼ cup needed). Roll it flat and place inside a 9 inch deep-dish. Make sure to drape some dough over the edge of the dish. Poke holes in the crust with a fork and place in an oven at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes.
Once the crust is out of the oven and cooled, mix 2 cups of Blueberries with the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Boil for two minutes while stirring constantly. Pour the remaining 6 cups of berries into the crust, then pour the mix on top. Make sure to stir, spread out, and place in the fridge overnight.
Once the rooster has crowed five times, make the whipped cream. Whisk 2 cups of heavy cream and ¼ cup sugar for a really long time. When the fluff is almost ready, add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Spoon this gorgeous white fluff on top of the pie and eat to your heart’s content!!