Cherries and Berries

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Evans cherry, only in its second year!

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.  

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Graysen taste-testing the strawberries

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.

IMG_1498Picking 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.  

IMG_1334We’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?

 

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2 thoughts on “Cherries and Berries

  1. katmainomad

    Nice Saskia! It has been an amazing fruit year. Wish my Evans would bear. Or at least sucker so I can propagate it 🙂 I have been making (and freezing) a lot of fruit pies. It was nice to pop an apple pie out of the freezer last winter, heat it up and enjoy! The gooseberries all went into 4 pies due to my dad’s midwestern hankering for a childhood favorite. I have lightly sugared my black currant concentrate. When we want soda, I pour a jar into a clean 2-L soda bottle, add half water, drop in a touch of yeast, wait a day or so (just til the sides feel hard) and put it in the fridge as soda, no purchased soda water needed! I’ve made my fill of jams (red and white currant seedless puree as a bright red base and pectin source, other fruits on top for the overtone), and am on to chutneys and less sugared preserves. I made a good apple one in college. Apple sauce is great too, no sugar. The family only likes june berries in pancakes because of the seeds, I like them in pies etc. I made some seedless puree to add to jam. Most of my berries, though, were eaten fresh or are frozen for cereal/yogurt/smoothies later.

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  2. Heidi McQueen

    I wish I had your success with all making it happen. I seem to struggle to balance out life. I want my children to acquire these skills and value them. There is only so much jam one can use with the abundance of fruit we are provided. I finally learned to juice most of our frozen raspberries, and learned the hard way how acidic it is. I add just a touch of honey to curb the bitterness. I use it to make syurp with a thickener and maple syrup. Childhood staple. Make it into jello. Learning to make secondary ferment with kombucha. I would like to see if raspberry leaves can replace the black tea needed for brewing it. Learned to wash apples, dig out flower remnants, steam, then I pull out the inner husks with my fingers, I call it good and can them as is. Have you tried canning some of your meat? I’m glad to have good company in putting self reliance into practice in town. Thank you for the support by showing and sharing what your doing. Heidi

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