Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's berry picking time!

Location, At Home

It’s berry picking time. To be specific, it’s boysenberry picking time. My berries usually start to ripen about the 2nd week in May and continue for 6 weeks. This year the vines are smaller but the berries are nice sized.

Today’s picking was only 5 baskets as we have had cool weather the last few days. Nice warm days make for a bumper crop. About the most I have ever picked at one time were about 25 baskets. That amount is unusual and only happens once a season at the peak ripening stage. Notice, I recycle strawberry baskets for my picking.

After picking, the berries are washed under a stream of water as I dump some into my hand so I can look for leaves, etc to make sure they are clean. I let the clean berries drain in a colander and then put them on cookie sheets and into the freezer they go. After freezing over night the berries are packed in one gallon zip lock bags and marked with the year and put back in the freezer again. Frozen berries look like jujubes, the candy shaped like raspberries.

Most of our berries are used for cobblers or canned into jam. When we have too many for the freezer Clyda cooks them down for juice and cans them later. The juice is frozen in quart jars. She also makes boysenberry syrup which is really good on pancakes or French toast.

There you have it, the life of boysenberries.