Wild blueberries – along with thana (or Cornelian Cherries) and chestnuts and honey – are one of the prime treasures of Tropoja – according to Tropojans. Whole families support themselves (modestly) with the annual blueberry harvest as their sole financial support. Once again, this was one of the first products of the area to be subjected to large-scale buying for export, and once again, locals are paid very little for them, despite the fact that they grow only at higher altitudes, are really super tiny and are therefore (not to mince words) pretty damn difficult to collect. In Tropoja you will find them either (for a few brief weeks) in the seasonal, and ecstatic, fresh form or as dried berries which are valued for making health-giving tea. They are also, like honey, considered super-expensive here.
We at the shop went out on a limb this year, and made JAM. And for this one I have to say everyone said “We have NEVER heard of that.” They also declared it universally, gobsmackingly delicious. As ever, we left the berries (tiny as they are) as entire as possible, and erred on the side of leaving it more syrupy. You can always boil it down more yourself, if you want something SUPER thick. But left a bit thinner (just a bit, mind you – it still looks pretty thick from outside the jar, peering in) we think it’s a bit more versatile. Make a cocktail, dress a cake OR just slather it on the best bread and butter.