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Picking and Canning Fruit on the Vineyard Part 4

Picking and Canning Fruit on the Vineyard Part 4

1924 Blueberry Patch, Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory Project

1924 Blueberry Patch, Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory Project

1912 Canning School, Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory Project

1912 Canning School, Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory Project

Today Martha’s Vineyard is known as a tourist destination for many North Americans particularly those of us in the Northeast and New England regions. But for the majority of its history Martha’s Vineyard had been covered with family farms. Francis Duarte was born in Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard. In his oral he shares that it was quite common for locals to grow blueberry bushes and pick blueberries from them when they were in season. He recalls that from those blueberries his mother made pies and canned blueberry preserves. Agricultural genius George Washington Carver had this suggestion for farm families like the Duartes: A garden with various types of fruit bushes such as blueberries “is one of the greatest money-makers on the farm.” He goes on to say, it produces food essential to “good health and the proper strength of both mind and body. If we eat plenty of good food . . . every day, all other things being equal, we can do more work and better work than if we did not. We shall not get so tired, weary, and have to consult the doctor so often, and pay out such heavy doctor bills.” Second, the surplus of the garden can be canned, preserved, dried in order to enjoy throughout the winter and early spring months. Third, the surplus of the garden can be sold raw, dried, canned, pickled, preserved, and made into all kinds of good tasting products sold for a profit with little effort. (Raleigh H. Merritt, From Captivity to Fame or The Life of George Washington Carver, 1929)

Blueberry Pudding Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

¼ cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 and ½ cup flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

2 cup blueberries

Instructions

Cream butter and sugar and add beaten eggs. Dredge the blueberries with part of the flour. Sift together the remainder of the flour and baking powder and add to the first mixture alternatively with the milk. Stir the blueberries into the batter and pour into a well-buttered baking dish. Bake in a moderate oven [325] for about 45 minutes. Serve with plain cream or hard sauce. (New Journal and Guide [Norfolk, Virginia] August 15, 1936)

Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups flour

2 cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup blueberries

2 eggs, well beaten

3 tablespoons butter melted

1 cup milk

Instructions

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Mix berries with a quarter of this mixture. Beat eggs and add with melted butter. Add the flour alternately with milk. Stir in the blueberries lightly. Bake in well-buttered tins in a hot oven (450 F.) for twenty-five minutes. (Crosby Gaige, New York World's Fair Cook Book: The American Kitchen, 1939)

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Fred Opie Show Podcast

Martha’s Vineyard Series:

Picking and Canning Fruit on the Vineyard Part 1

Picking and Canning Fruit on the Vineyard Part 2

Picking and Canning Fruit on the Vineyard Part 3

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Picking and Canning Fruit on the Vineyard Part 3

Picking and Canning Fruit on the Vineyard Part 3