Farm Life: Preserving the Harvest, Part 3, Berries

Rubies on Emerald Canes

While Linda is the tomato gal, I’m the berry guy.  Our berry harvest actually begins in July with blueberries and deerberries.  We learned about these while hiking locally on our honeymoon 18 years ago.  Now these are not the marble sized blueberries, wonderful as those are, from the store or farmer’s market.  This are the size of pearls and just a precious.  Eat a handful of these each week in July and you will have enough anti-oxidants to purge all the free-radicals you could accumulate on a cross country flights in a year.  We knew that we had these bushes in our forest, but we found few berries on our property for years.  When we began clearing more of the area around our cabin for gardens, livestock fields, etc. the sun brought out the fruit.  With each summer with these berry bushes fill out and our harvest if fuller.  These bushes are less than knee-high, so you get a good stretch bending and kneeling down to find the tiny berries.

About the same time in July, the black and gold raspberries ripen under our apple and peach trees.  To fill out the flavor, the wineberries add red dots to the roadside.  We would call these wild raspberries, but the local folks collect them to make home-made wine.  We do not wait long enough for them to ferment, but add them to July smoothies, our mid-morning boost between breakfast and lunch.  Next in line are the blackberries. Each of these berry seasons give us enough for daily consumption and a few trays of frozen berries for the winter months.

A Mere Two Quarts Today

Then comes August.  The gentle pace of picking berries with a small woven basket  is over.  Bring out the buckets.  Our raspberry patch will produce until frost, whether that occurs in September, October, or November.  We acquired our first roots while visiting friends, Donna and Jack, in Virginia Beach.  Their berry patch had outgrown its location in their extensive garden.  That should have given us some warning.  We planted these roots to the east side of our garden.  A dozen years later, we have two sections.  The original area covers about 30′ by 6′, and the newer area about 10′ by 6′.  Maybe if we did not add so much manure from the barn each winter…  One weekend, we had two sets of neighbors come by and pick as many raspberries as they could take.  A couple hours after they left, we went out and picked seven quarts of berries from the area they said they had “picked clean”.

A Tray of Frozen

Some years, Linda cans raspberries with the minimum amount of sugar.  But, I can only eat so many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a year.  More recently, we have been freezing berries, which taste great in February in yogurt, and April in smoothies, along with all those peaches.  Yummm.

Once I have the berries picked, it is time to check the corn.

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About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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5 Responses to Farm Life: Preserving the Harvest, Part 3, Berries

  1. Buget Busting Mamma says:

    Well, Well, Here I am again. How many scratches do you have from the thorns on those berry bushes? Getting them from the store is scratchless. It cost’s more of course and certainly looses some of it’s taste and nutrious value but what else can you do when your a city girl?
    Do you make your own yogurt too?
    BB&M

    • hermitsdoor says:

      Yes, BB Mama, Linda makes “goatgurt”, but today she is making cheese. I shall have to write about those some day. I do get lots of tiny black thrones in my thumbs and finger tips, with an occasional scratch on my arms. But, there are a lot nastier thorny plants around here that make the berry canes minor annoyances. Every once in a while we make rough calculations of how much we would have spent at the farmer’s market to purchase what we pick. I figured that our peach tree saved us at least $150. The five quarts of raspberries I picked Wendesday, came up at around $40. Of course, I probably would not have bought five quarts in one day, so the savings are theoretical. Keep Busting that Budget

  2. The Vicar says:

    Those pictures of the berries remind me of the dessert that we enjoyed back in July, sliced peaches and wineberries. I wonderful peach melba bursting with flavor. It’s hard to believe there was anything left after I “picked everything clean” while I was visiting.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      Berries respond to be picked by producing more flowers and berries for a time period. You did a us a favor by harvesting early and extending the season. If only all our endeavors were so prolific!

  3. walkingsmall says:

    Berry, berry nice

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