I love filling up the freezer with a stash of berries to see us through the winter. We go through a LOT of berries, so I like to pick my own because it’s so much cheaper than getting them at the farmers’ market. Sometimes I totally overshoot and can barely manage all the berries, but this year we’ve been resorting to store-bought frozen berries for the past few months, which meant it was high time to go picking! This year I thought Miles might be a good helper, so we headed off on Friday to Emma Lea Farms, my favourite place to pick berries. They’ve got a great selection of delicious berries, they practice integrated pest management, and their prices are reasonable.
We started with strawberries, since their season is winding down. Miles rode to the field in a wagon, which he really enjoyed. We staked out our spot and got to work. Miles remembered just to pick the red ones but of course they all went straight in his mouth! After about 4 strawberries I asked him to put them into his container and then to pour them into my container. In a stunning turn of events, he did! Sometimes 2 year olds are surprisingly reasonable! (In the interest of full disclosure, I have to mention that he was wearing his PJs at the time, because he had refused to get dressed and I didn’t want a giant fight about something so unimportant… so he’s definitely not always reasonable!). In about 20 minutes of picking, we got enough strawberries to make a small batch of jam and to last us for the week.
We then headed over to the raspberries, but they weren’t quite ready so we didn’t get very many of them. They’re also not as much fun for a 2 year old to pick, since they are higher up. We got enough for the week, but not enough to do anything else with. And after that much picking, Miles was ready to stop, so I’ll get tayberries another time.
The bonus of going to Emma Lea Farms is that they have an ice cream stand and a playground. We made good use of both!
When we got home, we had lunch and then both had 2 hour naps! Then we made a batch of low-sugar strawberry jam together, with Miles in the role of Chief Berry Squasher. We took a jar to brunch with friends on Saturday morning, and everyone declared it delicious, especially spread on my favourite new muffins!
Apple Museli Muffins
This recipe is adapted from Grazing, a book I’ve mentioned before. As usual, the recipe is a keeper, but I took the liberty of decreasing the sugar and increasing the amount of “good stuff” in the batter. This is also a great base recipe, to which you could add any kind of dried fruit, nut, or even fresh or frozen berries.
- 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup quick oats
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 apple, grated
- 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flour through salt). Stir in dried fruit and nuts.
Mix all wet ingredients, including apple, together in another bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined.
Distribute between 12 large muffin cups, and bake for about 20 minutes at 400F. Remove from pan and let cool on rack. If your muffin cups are not large, you’ll get more muffins – lucky you!