Picking and Preserving the Wineberry

Learn about picking and preserving the wineberry, a lesser-known but flavorful fruit. Includes history of the wineberry, picking tips and a recipe for wineberry preserves.


| July/August 1982



076-164-01a

Not only are these little gems downright delicious right off the vine . . . but delicious when they're simmered into jelly and spread over a hefty slab of homebaked bread.


PHOTO: MARY ANN PICCARD

Here are some tips for picking and preserving the Wineberry, a little-known but wonderfully flavorful fruit. 

Picking and Preserving the Wineberry

What? You say you've never heard of (much less eaten) a wineberry? Well, I can tell you that you're in for a real wild-food treat. Not only are these little gems downright delicious right off the vine . . . but when they're simmered into jelly and spread over a hefty slab of homebaked bread, why, wineberries become the kind of food that makes a person give thanks for being born with tastebuds! In fact, my family and I spend months savoring our anticipation of each year's wineberry season (which, in our part of eastern Pennsylvania, is about mid-July), when we can wander through the woods and collect these goodies courtesy of Mother Nature.

A WINEBERRY HISTORY LESSON 

A member of the Rubus genus (as are raspberries and blackberries, as well as a dozen or so other species), the wineberry is native to China and Japan. It was brought to this country by way of Europe and sold as an ornamental plant during the later part of the nineteenth century.

Since wineberries (Rubus phoenicolasius) are relatively new to the U.S., they've established themselves in the wild only throughout most of the eastern states so far. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Western folks can grow their own, though. In case you don't happen to live in an area where wineberries flourish, you'll be glad to know that it's possible to purchase plants by mail from seed companies. One firm that offers the wineberry is Burpee (Dept. TMEN, Warminster, Pennsylvania). The folks there will sell you one plant for $5.25, five for $8.95, and ten for $14.75 . . . plus a $1.00 handling charge per order. Burpee advises that the bushes grow best in Zones 5 through 8.] 

Like their raspberry cousins, wineberries produce new canes each year, which then bear fruit the following summer. The brambles usually flower sometime between April and June (depending upon climate), and their berries ripen approximately two months later.

mary
7/11/2016 6:53:15 PM

I picked a bunch of them. Rinsed them in a mesh colander, let them drain, then spread them out to dry further, then put them into a ziploc and froze them for smoothies. Went to open the back and was almost knocked over by a terrible smell. They STUNK. WHY!? Are they still good?


john altobelli
11/28/2010 11:36:20 AM

where can i buy wineberry plants?


rose_13
1/2/2008 2:36:16 PM

I want to make the spreads but I'm not familiar with a jelly bag. Making jelly calls for a jelly bag. Where can I find a jelly bag? Please answer me through my e-mail if you have the answer. Thanks,






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