Monday, July 4, 2011

For the Love of Berries

For some of you, this may be an extremely boring post.  For me, it's not because it's all about berries and I love berries.  They are, hands down, my favorite fruit.  Five kinds grow on our property- strawberries (planted by us), mulberries (the tree was here), red raspberries (we transplanted "Heritage" shoots from friends which yield twice a year), black raspberries (grow and spread wild), and wine berries (grow and spread wild).  The only berries we're missing, as far as I'm concerned, are blueberries.  The second year we lived here, we planted about five bushes and they all promptly died.  We've since learned that they often take a little bit more soil prep that we initially thought.  In a year or two, we may be ready to give them another go.

Since our strawberry harvest was on the very small side this year (we only had enough to eat them fresh and make a couple desserts), we are thrilled that our other berries seem to be doing very well.  We've had lots of rain and berries love rain.

Red raspberry, black raspberry, wine berry.

Every other day, I head outside with two pint containers and pick.  Right now, the mulberries and black raspberries are fading out and the wine berries and red raspberries and just ripening.  I don't divide out the berries, I just fill my containers with whatever I'm picking.  One container goes into the freezer and the other into the fridge for eating fresh or adding to (or on top of) baked oatmeal.  If our kids didn't "help" pick, we'd probably have twice as many to freeze.  Miriam is willing to go deep into the prickery bushes for even half ripe berries.

I don't wash the berries prior to freezing.  We don't spray and I'm careful to pick out any ants or little inch worms that find their way in with the berries.  Not washing them allows the berries to stay nicely separated even while frozen, so it's easy to spoon out a cup or so here or there without having to use all of them at once.  I know some folks like to freeze their berries on cookie sheets first for this purpose, but mine stay separated well enough without this added step.


Red raspberries, wine berries (not quite ripe, the berries are under those fuzzy covers which will open to expose the ripe fruit).
We use the frozen berries in muffins, pancakes, homemade ice cream, to decorate birthday cakes, in cheese cake, in cake, in cobblers, crisps (apple or peach), baked oatmeal, jello salad, you name it.  They are bits of heavenly sunshine in the middle of winter and I will never, ever, ever get enough.

Unfortunately for you, this means I probably won't ever stop talking about them.

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  1. My dad claims that raspberries are the only fruit to make it out of the garden of Eden. Someday, I will grow berries, but we haven't had much luck so far. My strawberries didn't survive the winter.

  2. Yumm! I'm looking forward to our raspberry harvest this year too... It looks like it will be a bumper crop!

    Have you ever made raspberry muffins? I wondering if they'd be good.

  3. Mavis,
    Raspberries in muffins are wonderful! I think they're even better in muffins than blueberries.

  4. I'm with you. Berries fill me with such thankfulness to our Creator. I spent the morning picking 5 lbs of wineberries at the Showalter property (kids at my parent's) and now I have the wonderful dilemma of figuring out how to use the gallon I picked. So many wonderful options are swimming through my head. I'm freezing some, making some jam, and of course a cobbler,crisp, or pie needs to happen soon. I'm praising God for this beautiful fruit!
    Laura Kauffman

  5. Do you have a recommendation where to buy berry bushes? I haven't been able to find them locally and have not yet had success with ordering plants online. Suggestions?
    Thanks, Sarah

  6. Sarah,
    If you're looking for raspberry bushes, you could put an ad in your local paper and ask if anyone would let you come take shoots from their bushes (spring is the best time, but it can work in summer if you water well). Our red raspberry bushes came from friends- they transplant beautifully and each year send out many new shoots that you can replant to extend your rows. Black raspberries and wine berries grow wild- ask around to see if anyone had some on their property and then transplant canes. You're looking for new growth that has established roots. Red raspberries need full sun, but black and wine can handle partial shade. Best of luck!

  7. I do love peaches just a tiny bit better than berries, but I love how you sing their praises! We planted red raspberries and black (berries? black raspberries?) this year. Hopeful!

    Have you seen Jennifer Jo's new baked oatmeal recipe? It has lots of berries in it. I'm going to try it soon.


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