Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thimbleberries...


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!!!


Wild Thimbleberry Jam
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!

20 comments:

  1. I have never heard of thimble berries..how wonderful! They look really delicious. I think it's great that you've got all of these berries growing on your property! So lucky! Your jam looks great!!

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  2. I've never heard of this type of berry either, I think it's great that you're not letting them go to waste! Enjoy!!

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  3. Never heard of thimbleberries! Very interesting! You were very busy today! It will be nice in the winter to enjoy your jam! Thanks for sharing! Happy Gardening! Mindy

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  4. nada on the thimbleberries here also....

    love the new header picture!!!!

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  5. My first introduction to thimbleberries was when we were camping by Black River Harbor on Lake Superior in northern Michigan. What a treat! We had hobo pies over the campfire with them. From your prior post about the service berries ~ this year we picked and I made jam from those too.

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  6. The jam looks as though it has a lot of seeds in it - I would maybe make a jelly with them as I do with raspberries. We don't have them in this country but they would make a great addition to my soft fruit collection.

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  7. At first I thought you were joshing us. I have never heard of these. Your jam looks lovely. After all that work, no wonder the dog is so tired out!

    Cheers, Diane

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  8. I love the new picture at the top. I thought they were raspberries when I saw the picture. I wonder if some of our wild raspberries are actually thimble berries!!

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  9. I've never heard of thimbleberries or service berries as we don't have them in the UK, but we do have bucketloads of raspberries, loganberries and elderberries instead!

    i can't remember where I wandered into here from, but I'm glad I did as I've had a really interesting time reading all your back posts and admiring your garden. Thank you :)

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  10. Thank you for the lesson. I mistakingly thought thimbleberries were those little red round berries that birds love to eat. Now I'm curious what those ones are called.

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  11. What fun! I posted about thimbleberries also. I have never added any pectin to the berries for jam and it turns out fine.

    Thimbleberry jam is a specialty in northern Michigan. Some gift shops in the Keweenaw Peninsula sell it.

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  12. Your post on thimbleberries (I want to taste them!) and mine on Thimble Cottage are perfect partners.

    Love to you,

    S

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  13. Thanks for the anniversary wishes! I agree. I am sick to death of all the negative things on television. Blogging is much, much better.

    Love,

    S

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  14. I was on that same camping trip with sister Mel when we were first introduced to Service Berries. They were pretty good all bundled in bread and toasted over an open fire. Berries and Jam, what could be finer. Just made Raspberry JellyJam so good.
    BlessYourBountifulHeart

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  15. Just wanted to say that I love your new header! Also, that beehive basket is absolutely wonderful! I am in love!!

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  16. Never heard of these berries either, but oh, the jam looks delicious. It will taste even better during the winter months.

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  17. I've come across these in the thickets along the edge of the woods.
    Because like you say they are a difficult berry to pick or finding a large amount seems out of the question, those I do forage find their way into what I call Hedgerow jam. A mixture of wild crabapples(for natural pectin), damson plums and thimbleberries.(which I always thought were a wild version of raspberries)
    Your jam looks yummy!
    Susan

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  18. greetings from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa. Richard from Amish Stories.

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  19. That looks really yummy, and your berry picking partner is really cute!

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Sit on my porch and let's chat. Due to the amount of spam I am closing my comments to Anonymous users. Sorry.