'Tis the season for harvesting. Specifically, for me at least, the abundant blueberries and cranberries that are in quantity and free for the taking. How we take advantage of prior devastation from forest fires to pick our yearly supply of blueberries and cranberries.
Wineberries are one of the most abundant wild summer fruits, and just as delicious as their blackberry cousins. They also happen to be an invasive species and you’re doing a good deed when you eat them. Here’s how to identify, gather, and eat wineberries.
Taking a little time to freeze some corn and berries this summer can not only save you some serious money, but it can make your winters much more pleasant. Here's how to freeze berries and freeze corn for year-long food security with summer flavor.
Blueberries are a superfood — one of the fruits highest in lycopene and antioxidants. Take advantage of their season and stock up. They do very well in the dehydrator and make scrumptious preserves to dollop on plain yogurt, slather on toast, or to fill quick little tartlets. This is a very thick, low-sugar preserve, very different from the Sure-Jel type.
Both tart and sweet, June is infused with the tangy taste of wild cherries, the sweetness of plump raspberries, and the succulence of wineberries. Though feasting, harvesting and preserving this sweetness is a priority, there is much more to do to make the most of this month. Below is a guide to homesteading and wild-food foraging in this juicy season.
Strawberries are a core component of our annual diet, as they’re one of the easiest fruits to grow and preserve. Many guidelines for strawberry preservation call for extraordinary amounts of added sugar, which we’ve found quite unnecessary for the fresh, sweet, high-quality berries we grow. Here are the three main ways we handle our fresh berries.
Technically a berry, soap nuts are considered to be an environmentally conscious alternative to chemical detergents and soaps. The berries come from a prolific tree that grows well in degraded environments where little else can grow. They are safe for allergies, free from any additives, and can be used to clean just about anything.
Most great ideas start small. That’s how Katie and Ben Reneker, founders of the Carmel Berry Company, started out handcrafting small batches of syrups and cordials with elderberries or elderflowers wild-harvested or grown on their small farm.
There is wild fruit nearly everywhere, free for the picking. This spring, as soon as leaf buds swell in your area, go looking for blooms. Take a ride, get somebody to drive for you, so you can search roadsides and fields, along railroad tracks, in power line right of ways, and maybe even an abandoned homesite, looking for brushy shrubs, brambles, vines and trees with white flowers.
Native to 35 states and 3 provinces of Canada east of the Mississippi, Partridge Berry is rarely seen in the trade. I fail to see why, as it's very easy to propagate by rooting cuttings or from seed. In fact, it forms adventitious roots as it gently winds its way around the garden. It could never, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered aggressive or invasive.
If you love shortbread — and a lot of people do — this is the cookie to make. The colorful cranberries make them really pop at Christmas time. This delightful recipe comes from "Christmas Cookies: Dozens of Yuletide Treats for the Whole Family" by Monika Römer.
Cranberry sauce (or cranberry relish) is very easy make and preserve by freezing or canning. Use it through the holidays and beyond; it makes a great yogurt topping or spread for toast, as well as an accompaniment for Thanksgiving turkey dinners and the day-after sandwiches.
The author tells how to dehydrate and use blueberries for delicious cooking and for snacks, such as in smoothies, muffins or even as flavoring for frostings. You can use an electric dehydrator or air-dry blueberries. Learn how fun and easy it is to do.
The American High Bush Cranberry is a neglected fruit that deserves more fans. Fruits are high in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. The fruit is also high in natural pectin so it makes a great jelly. Fruits (drupes) are similar to Thanksgiving cranberries in color but with their own distinctive flavor. Whether you pick them from the wild or from your own planting, learn to tell the difference between the Native American High Bush Cranberry and the bitter European kind.
Once neglected, the elderberry shrub has made a comeback, welcomed by gardeners and cooks looking for multi-purpose plants that are useful for food, beautiful in the edible landscape, and have added health benefits.
Strawberry jam just tastes like summer. I look forward to preserving that summer sweetness so I can enjoy it on a cold winter day or next month on a piece of warm bread. And there is an added bonus when you can give strawberry jam away as a gift and put a smile on someone's face.
Jostaberries are a cross between black currants and gooseberries, combing the best of both fruits to make a tasty berry and an even tastier jam. You can use a water bath canning method to preserve this productive perennial fruit.
Today, a significant number of gardeners and cooks are trying out unusual fruits, but information about growing, using, and preserving them is often hard to come by. This is especially true of gooseberries, which can be turned into delicious desserts and can easily be preserved. Because they are rich in natural pectin, they make superb jams, jellies, and marmalade without the addition of commercial pectin.
Before commercial pectins, our grandmothers made jam by cooking down fruit, slowly, slowly to keep it from scorching. Pectin is what makes a jam or jelly gel. A little known fact: Which brand of commercial pectin you buy matters in terms of taste, texture, and how fast you are likely to get in and out of the kitchen.
Make wholesome pancakes with local native fruit. With fewer local raspberries surviving pest infestation in Vermont, having so many tiny black caps has been a real treat. We have been eating a lot straight from the bushes. But our favorite use for black caps is in these thick, long-cooking pancakes.
Coffee cake seems to be the forgotten step-child of breakfast breads. Although once very popular coffee cake has been eclipsed over the year by the proliferation of bagels, large, gooey muffins, and egg and sausage breakfast sandwiches.
Winter hardiness is crucial when growing brambles as perennial crops, especially in regions like the Upper Midwest. Here’s a listing of the best hardy raspberry and blackberry varieties, and what you should consider before selecting which cultivars to plant.
Building the Cadillac of worm bins, a new barn door, testing the new garlic curing rack, harvesting big potato onions, mulching blueberries, and fabricating a low budget easy to build automatic chicken coop door opener and closer from easy find parts
Introducing the serviceberry, a beautiful landscape tree or shrub suitable in much of North America, to the edible landscape. Serviceberry -- or sarvis -- comes in many regional forms and produces edible berries.
Sweet, juicy and blissfully bite-sized, homegrown strawberries embody everything we love about eating from the summer garden. Get your fresh red beauties performing deliciously in these dishes both sweet and savory.
No one will miss the meat when you serve up fabulous vegetarian versions of Thanksgiving favorites. Try two versions of mushroom stuffing, mushroom gravy or delicious roasted Brussels sprouts this holiday!
Cobbler is not the only solution to a bumper crop of berries. If you can boil water, you can turn the juice from big-flavor berries into tasty beverages that are naturally rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Make extra juice to freeze or can for year-round enjoyment.