Hope’s Corner – Berry Information!

Hello, this is Hope!

I love eating and picking berries, although eating is my favorite.  :) We have raspberries, blackberries, as well as blueberries in our store: Apple Blossom Orchard and Market.

How many of you LOVE berries? If you do, stay right here for info from an expert, me!

Many of you have recently bought blueberries here this week. Let me share with you how to keep them. First of all, pop them in the fridge right away. The colder the better. Wash them by rinsing with cold water only when it’s time to gobble them up. This is the same for all berries.

If you have more than you can eat, there are two things you can do with them; freeze them or bake something delicious.

To freeze them, just rinse them with water, let them drain in a colander, and put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, we put them in zip-lock bags. If you freeze them like this, they will be easy to grab right out of the bag by the handful.

For those of you who don’t know, raspberries are a delicious variety of berry that is red and soft (if cultivated correctly.) One raspberry is made up of many smaller berries, and they grow on something called a cane. A group of canes looks somewhat like a bush – but don’t be deceived! Raspberries are related to apples, as both are in the rose family.

Raspberry Catcher

I can catch them in my mouth almost every time :)

Our raspberry season is from late June to mid July, and from early September to mid October. Raspberries have a subtle flavor, with a bit of tartness that makes an addicting mixture.

Our canes have produced a lot this year. So many that I bet we have picked more than 250 pints! About 100 of those went to jam making. Three weeks ago, we made nearly 100 pints of freezer jam! See the recipe below. With the help of a few friends, we kept on picking and picking while we poured raspberries into huge bowls, boiled them down, and put them into jars. That was probably our biggest day for raspberries. Out of 250 pints I think 25 of them have gone into my mouth. :P

Blackberries are similar to raspberries.   Both are clusters of smaller, individual berries, being closely related to raspberries. They grow on drooping canes that we train on trellises to grow in the correct direction. Blackberries have a strong sweet flavor with a hint of tartness, making them a delicious treat.

Half-Ripe Raspberries

So far our blackberries are ripening well!

Blueberries are single berries that grow on tall bushes in tight clusters. The skin is a dark blue that is almost indigo—one of the only truly blue fruits. The flesh is a purplish green that squirts out as you bite through the soft but thick skin. Their flavor is extremely sweet, with a bit of tartness that balances the delicious taste. Check out our previous blog for more blueberry information, and a couple other recipes!

I love these three berries and they are a delicious snack for any time of the day. My sister Christina loves putting them in smoothies and on cereal, and here are some other simple recipes anyone can make!

Berry Fridge Jam
4 pints (about 8 cups) raspberries or blackberries (or a mix of both! We have not tried this with blueberries yet.)
2 cups sugar (or to taste! We put in a lot less than this :D)
One packet (about 1.5-2 oz.) powdered fruit pectin (or more if you want it thicker)
1/4 cup room temperature water (if the pectin needs to dissolve first)

Before beginning to make your jam, put a plate in the freezer so you can test the jam later and wash the jars (you will need two or three pint jars) you are planning to put your jam in. Gently wash the berries, and then put them into a pot. Mash the berries and sugar together, and bring the mixture to a boil. Then simmer the jam, stirring often. Add your pectin to room temperature water, and after it is dissolved, add it to the jam and mix thoroughly. The longer you simmer your jam, the thicker it will be. When you are ready to test the jam for thickness, take the plate out of the freezer and quickly put a teaspoon of jam on the plate. Tip the plate. You will be able to see how thick the jam is this way. When it is the desired consistency, put the jam in jars and let it cool down. Then, screw the lids on and store them in the fridge or freezer. The jam will keep for up to three weeks! It is amazing on ice cream.
Raspberry Fridge JamSometimes I love to eat it with a spoon it’s so good!

Berry Limeade
6 cups water, divided into cups
2 pints (about 4 cups) raspberries or blackberries (If you try this with blueberries, let us know!)
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
A blender

Put one cup water and 4 cups berries in your blender. Process this until it is smooth. If you would like a seedless drink, press the puree through a sieve into a pitcher and throw away the seeds. Add the remaining 5 cups of water, the sugar, and the lime juice to the pitcher. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour into cups and enjoy! Add ice if desired. Makes about 8 servings.

I hope you liked my blog! Come back on the last Thursday of every month for more of my writing. Have any suggestions for what we should write about? Let us know by e-mailing us at appleblossomlane2@gmail.com.

Hope Hanson

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