Monday, June 28, 2010

Berries, Berries, Berries!

While the season for wild strawberries has passed, more wild berries have come into season - black raspberries (aka "black caps"), juneberries, and mulberries. We're enjoying all three of these berries at my place. The wild black raspberry bushes are a bit sparse this year at my place - some years are just better than others. But the black raspberries we have managed to pick are really wonderful tasting. My grandfather was a dairy farmer and loved the wild berries he would pick with fresh cream. It must be in the blood because if I'm not eating them fresh out-of-hand, I like them with good quality vanilla ice cream.

Juneberries (aka serviceberries, saskatoons) are not known by as many people as black caps but they should be. They are a wonderful treat with their blueberry-like flavor and almond aftertaste. I honestly don't understand why more people don't plant serviceberries in their lawns and gardens. They are a beautiful Spring bloomer, produce copious amounts of tasty fruit, and are an attractively shaped hardy and pest-free, native bush/small tree. Plus if you have the "wrong" soil for blueberries like me, these are a great alternative.

Mulberries are another little known fruit in the US. The North American native mulberry species is the Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) but most "wild" mulberries trees are actually a cross of the introduced White Mulberry (Morus alba) and the Red Mulberry. Either way, these medium-sized trees produce oodles of fruit that are loved at my house by every bird in the area as well as the humans! The mulberry fruit tastes like...well,  a mulberry! But I guess it can be best described as being similar in taste to a raspberry. I've heard people curse these trees in their landscape because the dropped fruit is "messy." I think they are incredibly silly and my suggestion to them is to pick the fruit and eat it or use it for their favorite berry recipe. One of the best tasting pies I have *EVER* made was a mulberry pie made with berries from our trees.

So to get you wanting to do some berry picking of your own, here is a Berry Cobbler recipe. Use your favorite berries and enjoy!

Berry Cobbler

2 cups fresh berries of your choice, cleaned & drained
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups water

Cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Beat until smooth. Pour evenly into 2 quart buttered casserole. Spoon berries over batter. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over fruit. Pour water over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes. During baking, fruit and juice will go to the bottom and a cake-like layer forms on the top. Serve warm with ice cream or whip cream. Serves 6-8.

By the way, if you enjoyed this recipe, be sure to check out our Recipes page. We are always adding more recipes of foods that are indigenous to the Americas.


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