Friday, September 26, 2014

Fresh Black Raspberries in Season

Fresh Black Raspberries: Yum!

Bushes full of berries...

There has been an absolute abundance of wild berries this year here in the southwest United Kingdom, especially blackberries and black raspberries.  The image below shows a typical wild black raspberry bush, or patch — perhaps better described as a hedge of raspberries or nearly a forest of raspberries — that I keep running into all over the region along footpaths, bridal paths, hiking trails, biking trails, and so on.
Wild Black Raspberries on the bushes

These berries are simply everywhere: I call these berries the "national weed of the UK" due to how widespread they are.   I definitely do not mind, as unlike most "weeds", these plants produce a very useful crop — a delicious fruit that is quite versatile and can be used in many of my gluten-free recipes.  I used to pick these same types of berries in Ohio in the United States, but I never encountered them in such abundance as I have seen here.

...but, picking still takes time.

Even with so many berries on so many bushes, I have found that my ability to pick them peaks out at about 1 quart per hour.  The black raspberries are quite a bit smaller than the nice big plump fresh blackberries I was picking earlier this year (compare the picture below to the pictures in the blackberry blog-link — shown in same size pan); in fact, it probably takes 6 or 8 of these small berries to equal the size of a medium blackberry.

Next, there is the issue of the thorns on the bushes that must be avoided; those do not feel so nice and/or can get get your clothing all caught up in them.  If that were not enough, so often where these wild raspberries are growing, so grow large patches of stinging nettles around them and/or mixed throughout them — and if you have experienced the "sting" of those stinging nettles, you will soon realize why it is with great care (even if it slows down the harvest) that I work my way through the wild berry patches.

Fresh-picked black raspberries - much smaller berry than blackberries.

Lovely treat worth the effort

Even with the effort required to pick these lovely little flavorful berries, it is so worth it!  Much like with the blackberries, I eat these black raspberries fresh and I also freeze any extra ones.  I freeze some of the berries whole and others I cook down a bit prior to freezing the resulting very thick puree (many of the berries remain nearly whole).  I use these in some lovely gluten-free berry pies and other dessert recipes too!

One characteristic of the black raspberry I very much prefer to the larger blackberry is how it stays much more solid and has less liquid (per volume) than the blackberry when cooked — this denser and more solid texture makes for a much nicer berry pie, berry crisp or crumble, and so forth (the dessert does not succumb to sogginess).  And, they are simply loaded with flavor!  This all makes for them being quite a treat when placed in the morning granola or yogurt.  Hope you have a chance to enjoy some where you are.

Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available.

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