It’s fun to be a forager. Every July, I look forward to hunting for Rubus occidentalis berries. We have a modest plot of land with a double-wide “cottage” about an hour’s drive north of our home. On that land are enough berries to feed an average family every day through the month of July.
Are these berries ripe?
If you said “yes” you are incorrect. Ripe Rubus occidentalis berries look more like this:
We call them Black Raspberries, but they’re also referred to as black caps, thimbleberries, and various other common names. This entire plot is filled primarily with Black Raspberries:
But that’s just one spot. The place is overloaded with them! When you hunt for Black Raspberries, you might see an obvious patch like this:
Or you might have to hunt a little harder for a patch like this:
Even the damselflies like the canes as landing spots.
They’re so plentiful, in some patches they stretch on and on into the woods.
Black Raspberries are sweet! They’re tasty right off the vine (of course, I’d recommend washing them if you’re going to eat a bunch). But here are two favorite recipes using Black Raspberries:
1 1/2 C. fresh Black Raspberries
1 1/2 C. fresh Blueberries
1 1/2 C. fresh Mullberries
4 T. white sugar
2 C. all-purpose flour
2 C. rolled oats
1 1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 C. butter
substitutions work well. Sometimes I use just two kinds of berries, making sure they add up to 4 1/2 C.) Berry
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. In a large bowl, gently toss together all berries and white sugar; set aside.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of mixture in the bottom of a 9X13-inch pan. Cover with berries. Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown.
5. Serve with ice cream or whipping cream.
2. Raspberry-Banana Smoothie (no sugar added)
1 C. shaved ice
1 frozen Banana
1 C. fresh Black Raspberries
1/2 C. water
Place ingredients in blender in order shown. Pulse blender several times to mix ingredients, then “frappe” or “blend” for several seconds until mixture reaches desired consistency.
Whatever you do, don’t spill the smoothie—Black Raspberries leave stains! But they taste oh, so sweet and delicious. Enjoy!