The more time I spend outdoors in New York’s North Country, the more I seem to notice the flora. Maybe I’m just paying better attention. Some previous posts have been on wild strawberries, garlic mustard and plantain weed, lamb’s quarters, and daylilies. Whatever the impetus, this particular foraging adventure was my first entirely unplanned one, which makes me think I’m (possibly) becoming a real forager-slash-gatherer!
On July 4th a few friends and I decided to camp out in Wolf Lake State Park, a gorgeous state park near Edwards, NY. I discovered this gem of a place a few years ago when searching for a non-Adirondacks-high-peak hike.
There’s a really lovely 5.6 mile loop that passes a gigantic beaver dam, lots of ponds, and three lakes, which quickly became my favorite hike in the region. I’ve enjoyed it covered in snow and swarming with bugs; the views and the beauty of the place never get old.
In the past I’ve been limited to the land, as the lakes were either frozen or freezing cold. Being here for the summer, however, has changed everything. The biggest lake, Huckleberry Lake, is only a thirty minute walk from the yellow trail head, and is possibly the best swimming spot I’ve ever experienced. It’s secluded, house and boat free, and nearly always deserted.
We swam out to one of the many small islands that pepper the lake on Saturday, and to everyone’s joyful surprise, found ripe, wild blueberries growing on low, small leafed bushes all over the rocky surface. Wild blueberries like full sunlight and grow in both bush and creeper forms. Look for them in late June, July, and August.
They’re obviously much smaller than the berries you would pick up at the grocery store, but they’re also intensely flavorful and not that sweet. They’re great for munching on the spot, but I also find they add a lovely, tart pop to baked goods; a handful thrown into a summer salad are also never remiss.
Though I’ll admit I ate most of them on the spot, we managed to save a few, and added them to our camp fire cornbread.The cornbread is gluten free and has a pretty short ingredient list.
It can also be made without blueberries and is just as satisfying. I got the base recipe from a friend and have been playing around with it for a while now; this is the best version I’ve come up with!
I’ll definitely be making this one again.
Gathering: pick them. Cleaning: rinse them. Cooking: eat them! Or make cornbread. I made cornbread.
Wild Blueberry Cornbread (Gluten free)
- 2 cups cornmeal (or 1 3/4 cups cornmeal, 1/4 cup buckwheat flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups milk or water
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup wild blueberries
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a cast-iron pan or glass dish with butter or lard.
- In a small bowl mix the cornmeal, buckwheat flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- In a larger bowl beat the eggs. Then add in the honey, milk, melted butter, and olive oil.
- Add the mixed dry ingredients into the wet. Mix until just combined.
- Pour the mixture into the greased pan and put into oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is firm and a knife slips in and out easily.
- Serve warm and with lots of butter and maple syrup. Toss a few fresh berries on top for good measure!