I remember the joy of blueberry picking in fall. My cousins and I wandered through the forest in our little rain boots looking for sweet wild berries. We picked many buckets full and brought them home to make juices, jams, and desserts. This summer as the weather has been especially chilly, I've waited impatiently for the wild berries to ripen so that I could relive my childhood memories.
My cousin, Lovise, discovered the perfect place to forage and I jumped at the offer to join her. We watched and waited for the perfect day, but the sun decided to go into hiding. It rained and rained, and a grey fog hung over town.
At the end of the week, the weather cleared up. Lovise packed a picnic, we put on wool sweaters and rain-boots, and we all headed out on a short road-trip to the mountains. We walked down the trail and started to wonder if there were any left. The blueberry bushes were barren, and my expectations for finding blueberries started to sink. Instead, I filled one centimeter of my little bucket with lingonberries, tart red beads that, when made into jam, are fantastic spread on lamb and beef dishes.
As we wandered on, we found bright red mushrooms; a little green frog jumped down into the mossy forrest and as we leaned over to pick more red-ripe lingonberries, a silver garden snake slithered past. Curious. I’ve seen snakes growing up in Arizona, but this was the first time I’ve seen one in Norway. We watched where it was going, and before we knew it, the snake had buried itself under the grass and leaves. I looked off the trail towards the trees where it was headed, and there it was — a hillside full of blueberry bushes. My brother Lorentz and I entered the secret little oasis of blueberries in the misty rain. We eagerly picked berries as we told stories about the last few months. We jumped from bush to bush interrupting each other, with “come here, I found more.” The berries were perfectly plump and ripe; many of them exploded between my fingers as I gently pulled them from the bushes. I picked one for me to eat, one for the bucket, one for me.
Once our bucket was filled and our fingers stained, our stomachs were growling. We met up with our cousins for hot cocoa and oatmeal by the camping stove. Oatmeal in the woods may not be your typical lunch, but nothing tastes better than a meal in the forest when you’re hungry!
Back at home, we had blueberries on everything: blueberries alone, blueberries on crepes, blueberries on pancakes, blueberries on ice cream, blueberries on yogurt and before we knew it, there were no more.
That night after foraging, Lorentz and I were inspired to make pannekaker, Norwegian crepes, to eat for “kvelds,” the light meal we eat in the evening in Norway. My mormor (my grandma) says that pannekaker must have lots of eggs, otherwise they’re “flour-cakes” and that's no good. To top them, we warmed the blueberries until they started to break open and bubble.
Pannekaker (Norwegian Crepes)
½ tsp Salt
2 cups (500ml) Milk
1 ¼ cups (3dl) Four
Whisk the egg, salt, and milk together. Pour the flour into the liquid mixture while whisking. The batter should be runny and free of clumps. If it is lumpy, try to sift it.
Heat a skillet or crepe maker over medium heat. Make sure the pan is not too hot or the crepe will burn. Butter the pan and pour ¼ to ½ cup batter into the skillet. Swirl the pan until it is evenly coated. Cook until the batter has set and the bottom is golden. Flip the crepe and cook the other side for a few more seconds.
* The batter can be made thirty minutes to an hour before using if left in the fridge. Stir before using.
Homemade Blueberry Sauce
1 ½ cups (3 ½ dl) Fresh Blueberries
2 tsp Sugar (depending on how sweet the berries are)
Mix the blueberries and sugar and heat until the blueberries start to break open and the sauce is juicy and dark purple. Spread on crepes :)