Tag Archives: wild Ozark berries

Summer Berry Time

Growing tame berries takes time and space. The space I have. The time I don’t. So I look forward to summer berry time on the hills.

Around here the first berries to ripen are the black raspberries. The first few are waiting in the refrigerator as an addition to morning pancakes.

The canes grow along the yard and along a fence nearby. These are challenging to pick as blackberries grow among them. The raspberries have thorns, but the blackberry thorns are fierce.

summer berry time begins with raspberries
Of all the summer berries I think I like the black raspberries to most. They are relatively easy to pick, taste delicious fresh and cook up in lots of dishes. The frozen berries are as versatile and good.

Sometimes there are more in the house than we can eat. These berries freeze well. I spread them on a cookie sheet and pour them frozen into a freezer bag. This takes summer berry time into the winter.

The gooseberries are still green. Many people pick them green and add enough sugar to counter the bitter taste. I don’t use much sugar so I let them ripen before picking them. They are a bit bland then, but don’t require sugar.

green gooseberries
Strictly speaking a gooseberry isn’t a berry. Each one is separate from a separate flower. They are a fruit and can be used in many of the same ways. I prefer mine ripe and a translucent purple to the green and bitter used by most people.

The gooseberry bushes grow along the yard and back in the ravine behind the house. These do have straight thorns, but the berries hang down away from them.

The blackberries are the hardest to pick. The canes interweave in large patches. They are well armed. Ticks like to hide on them. And the almost ripe and still bitter berries are easy to mix in with the delicious ripe ones.

Extra blackberries can be frozen like the raspberries.

blackberries come at the end of summer berry time
Blackberry thorns are long, hard and sharp. They stab through clothes, scratch and hang on refusing to let go. When they do let go, cloth sounds like it’s tearing. The berries turn from green to red and darken by degrees to black. They are ripe and good only when fully black. It takes good light to tell almost black from black. Of course the ripe berry slides off the plant with hardly a pull. How much of a pull? Not much less than an almost ripe one takes. These taste good, but can be so frustrating to pick.

There are several kinds of blackberries along the road and on the hills. The small canes along the roads are less dangerous. These berries are few in number, but a real treat.

Summer berry time includes the lowbush blueberries. These are hardest to get. The bushes are small and grow up in the hills. Not all the bushes have berries on them and the blueberries are small.

Birds and other creatures like the foxes eat berries too. Luckily there are enough berries for all of us.