The garden is really starting to mature at the Williams Street Farmhouse and we are harvesting more fruits and berries this year than ever before. Cherries gleaming like jewels, bowls of strawberries, neon orange sea berries, red and black currants drooping off their bushes, big juicy gooseberries, endless raspberries, enormous sweet juneberries and apples as big as my fist. I am in awe of the abundance flowing from my garden.
We’ve been stuffing our faces all summer with these vitamin-rich foods. Graysen learned quickly to only pick the red strawberries, and was lecturing his father for picking some that had some white on them. Every time we go on a walk we start and end by grabbing a few handfuls of raspberries, which Rylan loves as much as his brother. Rylan is also a big fan of gooseberries and will climb the stairs to find a bowl of them.
Picking like mad and sharing with friends, as I clean and pack away in the freezer I am thinking about what I am going to do with all this abundance. We can only eat so much jam, so we have to be creative in finding other ways of enjoying them.
I love to make smoothies for me and the boys, especially because I can slip in frozen greens along with the berries and yogurt, making them nutrition powerhouses without any added sugar. Matt prefers juice, so I make currant, sea berry, cherry, and rhubarb juice concentrate which he dilutes to taste. To make into a soda, we dilute it with soda water. I also made a simple syrup to easily sweeten it if needed, although he likes the juice tart. Matt made a dry raspberry wine this spring with some older raspberries from the freezer, which came out excellent.
We’ve also experimented with chutneys… gooseberry and black currant being our favorites to pair with meats, soft cheeses, and curries. Most of the berries I don’t have time to do anything with right now, so I freeze them on cookie sheets and then transfer to gallon zip-locks for storage. This way, I can take out as many berries as I need at one time. I’ve found the frozen berries are great in pies, tarts, purees for cheesecakes, pancakes, and coffeecakes. Graysen even likes to eat them frozen straight up! I can also make them into chutneys, jams, or sauces later.
As I’m writing this, I’m seeing that there is a lot to say about these berries and I need to include some recipes, so I’m going to do a blog post for each fruit/berry that includes more information about it, more pictures, and recipes! What is your favorite way to use your berries?