Have you ever heard of thimbleberries? I'm not talking the quilt shop either. Well, they are another berry that grows plentifully on our property. Another name for them is snowberries. With the amount of snow we get in the winter I am not surprised that we are loaded with them. Normally I don't do anything with these, except walk around like an old sow bear and eat them as they ripen. This year I was determined to make something with them. They are a difficult berry to use, because they fall apart the second they are touched. They taste somewhat like a raspberry. I was wavering between making wine or jam with them, when I read how easy it was to make jam I swayed towards simple. As with the last post about unusual berries I am including a description of the buggers. This time I used good old Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thimbleberry
|There is a Thimbleberry bush in the close center of this photo.|
Rubus parviflorus (Thimbleberry) is a species of Rubus, native to western and northern North America, from Alaska east to Ontario and Michigan,and south to northern Mexico. It grows from sea level in the north, up to 2,500 m altitude in the south of the range. It is a dense shrub up to 2.5 meters tall with canes no more than 1.5 centimeters in diameter, often growing in large clumps which spread through the plant's underground rhizome. Unlike most other members of the genus, it has no prickles. The leaves are palmate, up to 20 centimeters across, with five lobes; they are soft and fuzzy in texture. The flowers are 2 to 6 centimeters in diameter, with five white petals and numerous pale yellow stamens. The flower of this species is among the largest of any Rubus species, making its Latin species name parviflorus ("small-flowered") a misnomer. It produces a tart edible composite fruit around a centimeter in diameter, which ripen to a bright red in mid to late summer. Like other raspberries it is not a true berry, but instead an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets around a central core. The drupelets may be carefully removed separately from the core when picked, leaving a hollow fruit which bears a resemblance to a thimble, perhaps giving the plant its name. The species typically grows along roadsides, railroad tracks, and in forest clearings, commonly appearing as an early part of the ecological succession in clear cut and forest fire areas.
I picked berries all morning. Thimbleberries, raspberries, and service berries. I have learned that when one picks thimbleberries it is best to put them in the container you are going to freeze them in and don't mix them with the other berries. Otherwise you are going to have a gooey mess. I came out with about 3 cups of thimbleberries. I'm sure I will have plenty more by the time they are done, since they don't all ripen at once. I did some Internet searching and found a blog by Henry Kisor that has a simple recipe. I found that all you need to do to make jam is add as much sugar as you have berries. Pectin isn't even recommended. I gave it a go, but I did add a little pectin just to be safe. Yummm!!!
2 quarts of Thimbleberries
2 quarts of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon pectin
Boil until it looks right. Enjoy and always share:)
My berry picking partner is pooped!