Sunday, July 22, 2012

Berry Harvest - Picking up!

~ July 16 ~
This seems to be the year of the (Wild) Berry - the bushes are LOADED and the birds seem to have something else to eat for the moment. I usually take my cue to get out there with my buckets & bags when I see the birds hanging out in my raspberry patch or leaving their berry breakfast evidence on my deck railings.

This year, they are strangely quiet in the berry bushes... lots of birds still... wonder what they are eating?

Anyway - my first huge harvest was last week & that was the elderberries. Half of them have been boiled, strained & frozen, waiting to be made into jelly & the other half are in the freezer with the rhubarb, waiting for strawberries....

Right now I'm picking other red berries. I have 2 raspberry patches - with plans on expanding as I never seem to have enough raspberries & the plants really want to spread. (maybe next year...)
~ July 22 ~

I tend to pick every other or every 3rd day so that I'm getting more than just a handful each time. Also allows me to pick a different range of ripeness - some are super-ripe & others are just on the verge of being ripe. That way you get the benefit of full flavour (from the super-riper ones) as well as the benefit of higher pectin levels (from the not quite ripe ones).

I'm also lurking in the bushes along the roadside picking thimbleberries. I made a thimbleberry wine one year (don't ask me how I managed to pick that kind of quantity of this berry, but somehow I did!) and I recall I also made a thimbleberry jam.

This year will be another year for thimbleberry jam - as long as I don't get mistaken for a bear in the bushes & get shot!! The area I'm picking in has a ditch full of berry bushes - so I'm actually down about 3 feet from road level, not so gently or quietly thrashing my way through the bushes to get the berries. I actually stood stock still today when I heard people coming up the road as I didn't want to give them a heart attack by speaking from the bushes... I felt kinda silly, but I've already scared a couple of locals by just stepping out from behind a big leaf!!

I hope I can get some canning supplies this week - the freezer is filling up fast & the store shelves are empty!!

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