Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wild Berries in Bloom - Part 3

Another wild berry in bloom right now are the thimbleberries. This plant has no thorns & that makes harvesting a whole lot easier...unless you knock the berry off the plant first!

In a few weeks, the berries will start to ripen & they are red & full of very small seeds. They are not a big chunky berry like a raspberry or a blackberry. They are almost like a small cap that can fit on the end of your thumb & are nice & sweet.

When they start to ripen, the cluster takes its time. I find I will usually head out every 3 days to harvest the berries as only 1 berry from each cluster seems to ripen at any given time. A bit of a production to gently wade into the ditches where they grow & make sure not to knock them off the shrubs, but again, flavour is intense!

When I make jam I usually strain out about half of the little seeds as some people don't like the crunch too much. And I'm pretty sure one year the harvest out here was so large that I had enough to make a small batch of wine!

Since the shrub grows in ditches, the road clearing crews will come & cut them all back about every 3 years. I think the community of Bamfield has managed to convince them to wait until after the harvest season to do this as one year, they came with their giant brush cutter right at prime blackberry season & razed everyone's crop!

Many people pick wild berries - you don't have to do much other than go for walks with a bucket strapped around you & the flavours of wild berries are sometimes much more intense than commercially grown fruit. Just make sure you know what you are picking!

I'll share more on each as the season progresses. It's always good to know what you've got growing around your neighbourhood!

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