August 10, 2008

Blueberry picking

It’s not news that I love blueberries. And by an odd coincidence I moved from the largest producer in the southern hemisphere – Chile, to one of the largest producers in the world – Quebec. Quebec as a whole is the largest producer of wild blueberries, while Maine holds first place as the largest world producer. The “problem” with Quebec is that fruit season comes really late. But, the further south you go from Quebec city, the sooner you can pick blueberries. In fact, I picked some nice blueberries in Vermont at the very beginning of July, about a month before the blueberry festival in Dolbeau-Mistassini, QC. This latter city, which is located in the Lac Saint-Jean area north of Quebec City, is known in the province of Quebec as the blueberry capital of the world. In fact, people from that region are known as bleuets, which is the word in Canadian French for blueberries. The lac Saint-Jean area is just gorgeous, and the impressive lake is connected to the Saint-Lawrence river through the Saguenay fjord. The area became prominent in blueberry production because of an accident. There was a big fire that destroyed the trees. But after the fire, blueberries bushes – which grow very fast – appeared everywhere around the lake. So, wild blueberries became the staple of the region’s economy.

Blueberries are called mirtilli in Italian, and people in the north of Italy (especially in Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli, and Valle d’Aosta) use mirtilli in jams and preserves, usually mixed with other berries in what Italians call “frutti del bosco” (forest fruits).

Branching out
Blueberry jam
Blueberry gelato
Ricotta blueberry muffins

Crostata ai mirtilli
Frutti di bosco jam
Posted by Daziano at 11:57 AM |  


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