Our amazing state provides many opportunities to spend time outdoors as a family. For my family, berry picking is our all time favorite. I have many fond memories of watching my children pick and gobble blueberries faster than they could fill their pail.
Once upon a time, I read the book, Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey. In this book, a mother and her toddler, and a sow and her cub set out in search of blueberries.
While on the mountainside it becomes clear to the reader that the mother and the sow have both gotten so caught up picking berries that they lose track of their little ones. After a big surprise and a few moments of confusion, mother and child, and sow and cub, are reunited, and each pair set off for home.
I can completely relate to this story. My children and I are guilty of being quite focused on the berries while we pick. For this reason, I prefer to look for berries with my children on easy hikes that provide good visibility. Arctic Valley and South Fork are two of our favorite family berry picking spots. Both locations are wide open bowls with many places to pick. You are above the treeline, so it is easy to see your children while finding plenty of berries. The trails are gradual upward slopes making it easy for little legs to travel the hillside or for one to carry their baby on their back. Over the years I have discovered berries really can be anywhere. Should you decide that berry is picking one of your family’s favorite Alaskan activities, don’t forget to bring plastic bags or pails. We have been pleasantly surprised on many hikes to find unexpected treasure along the way.
Over the years our family would pick with friends or kid friendly hiking groups. The children would eat their fill of berries and play while adults picked berries and chatted. My children are older now, but they still enjoy this pastime as much as they did when they were young. They take great pride in filling their bags with berries and love to talk about what delicious goodies we will make when we get home.
Whether you have berries in your yard, a secret spot, or plan hikes to find them, berries are out in abundance. These beauties are packed full of antioxidants and vitamin C. I take extra joy in eating these fresh tasty gems because so many of our fruits and vegetables have to travel great distances to get to Alaska, losing precious nutritional content along the way. It does not get much better nutritionally speaking than freshly picked berries!
Blueberry Boy Bait
- 2 cups all purpose wheat flour (I use ½ cup coconut flour, ½ cup almond flour, 1 cup tapioca flour and 1 tsp guar gum.)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk (I use nondairy milk. Coconut cream is my favorite)
- 3 cups berries
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 Tbs sugar
Mix dry ingredients. Add eggs and milk, mix well. Sprinkle berries into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan and pour batter over the berries. Mix the topping ingredients, and sprinkle over the batter. Bake in the oven at 350 for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
This recipe is adapted from the 1954 recipe that 15-year-old Renny Powell submitted to the Pillsbury $100,000 Recipe & Baking Contest. Renny took second place in the youth division for this version of a coffee cake. At that time, rumor had it that this particular recipe had helped many an old fashioned girl snag a man.
While I discovered this recipe after I had already snagged a man, our children and friends seem no less smitten.
Nicole Mercer has lived Alaska for 12 years. She explores nature enthusiastically and seeks out delicious new adventures around every corner. To reach Nicole, email: firstname.lastname@example.org