Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Erin shows us a wineberry bush

This past weekend, I was home visiting my family in Mansfield, CT, and I was lucky enough to be there when our wineberry bush was starting to come into season.

Nobody ever seems to have heard of wineberries, and I really don’t understand why. They are one of my favorite foods. They’re smaller, tarter, and a brighter red than raspberries, and waxy on the outside.

My father is not exactly a farmer. He planted these years ago when he took a clipping from another bush and buried it near the corner of our vegetable garden. Today, the untended and overgrown bush crowds over almost half of the garden, and we just try to get to the berries before the birds do. Last night, I spent almost an hour climbing around the bush and ducking under the thorns. By the end of it, I had an almost-filled half-pint container of small, shiny, red berries and scratches on my arms and legs to show for it.

I think they can be made into wine, which is where the name comes from, and I believe they’d be good in jam or pies, also, but I don’t have the patience to pick that many and save all of them; I eat them raw and fresh off the stalk. Also, according to the Practically Edible website they are actually native to Asia.

Readers, please, look at these pictures, and if you ever have the chance to taste a wineberry, take it! Have you had them before? Are there any obscure plants in your backyard you think the world needs to know about?

2 comments:

  1. I knew of Wineberries in New Zealand, as a child. They grew prolifically in the are where I grew up, in the Bay of Plenty.
    We used to pick them & take them home to be made into jelly & jam. I am about to do another post about them on my blog. The vines, though prickly, were quite mild really, & we would gather them in summer. Beautiful eating, & as light red in colour.

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  2. Oh, I miss wineberries so much! They had gone wild in the farmland just east of Amish country in Pennsylvania, and I snacked on them all summer. Encroachments by housing developments gradually eradicated all my favorite patches.

    When I went off to college, no one I knew had ever heard of them, and now I'm out in CA where I'll never taste a wineberry again. They were SO GOOD.

    Better than strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries, all of which my family or my neighbors grew.

    Thanks to the web I've finally discovered I didn't hallucinate them (no one believed me when I described them). They're a Japanese import. Unfortunately, like a lot of imports, they tend to crowd out native plants.

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