Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bring on the Berries!

~ black currant ~
 One of the easiest things to grow out here on the coast are berries. With a little care & attention in the spring & fall, they basically take care of themselves & reward you with amazing bounty & healthy treats.

One of my favourite flavours is the dark savory tartness of the black currant. It is a bit different in growth & berry production than the red currant, but the flavour I find so much more rewarding.

My black currants are a few years behind in growth & production & have just finally started blooming now. I've already dealt with the spring feeding & have mulched around the base of the plant. There is not much left for me to do for the rest of the season except watch & wait for the fruit to start to ripen.
~ red currant ~
The red currants on the other hand are loaded down with berry blossom chains that are already starting to set fruit! This is going to be my best year, so far, for red currants! It's quite exciting - I'm already trying to come up with an exciting twist on red currant jam? jelly? something to tantalize the taste buds & be an appropriate gift later in the year.

Red currants are easier to pick - if you are able to fend off the birds & allow the berries to ripen in a cluster, all you do is pick the entire group of berries. So much easier than picking single berries at a time - such as you would do for black currants.

As much as I dislike bird netting, I might have to use it this year with the upcoming bumper crop in the works!
~ loganberry fence ~

The loganberries are looking very happy again this year. They are taking very well to being trained to grow horizontally & all this work was done in November when the weather was still nice & dry. Good thing too - February was too cold, stormy & wet for me to do my usual pruning chores with this notoriously prickly berry.

I see that there is plenty of new shoots emerging from the roots - I am going to try to dig some of them up so I can expand my loganberry patch else where on the property. I've not had much luck in putting cuttings in the ground but may be doing it at the wrong time of year.  The loganberry wine I made this winter is quite wonderful - definitely a summer drink to be had over ice with a wedge of lemon & maybe some sparkling water. I'm working my way through the last few bags of frozen fruit in my morning smoothies - here's a flavour twist for you to try: loganberries & basil with either spinach or kale (go with spinach) blended with a bit of yogurt & some coconut milk. If you don't like tart & tangy first thing in the morning - throw in a bit of honey. The basil was a surprisingly great addition & I'm already trying to figure out if I can make some sort of jelly concoction in the fall... it all depends if I can grow my own basil this year...

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