Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Funky Foods: Wineberries and Finding the Motivation to Weed

My mother is brilliant. No, seriously, the woman figured out how to get me to weed, to intensely, energetically. How you ask? what secret weapon did she acquire to finally get me to spend hours in the yard and sun? The answer is wineberries. A whole new set of questions just came up didn't it?

Wineberries? what are those? Well, funny should you ask.
Not quite raspberries not really blackberries, wineberries are sweet-tart bramble berries. They are apparently from Japan, Korea, and China, so I'm guessing these delectable loves of my life are unfortunately invasive. Last year a bush took over part of our yard. By took over I mean spanned roughly a 7 foot dome. But, that was last year and now new ...friends have entered the fray. Not excluding the two 15 foot saplings and patches of poison ivy, there are wild thornless blackberries, pokeberries, wild roses, Virginia creeper, wild grape, ramps, and many other things that I couldn't even name, including that which is pictured in third image.

My mom doesn't want any of it there,
so she figured that once wineberries came into season (for about 2-3 weeks towards the end of June and beginning of July) that she had
her angle. You see the really good plump, juicy, sunwarmed, and sweet wineberries are always in those clumps just out of reach ... and just beyond the hundred of impeding weeds.

My rules for weeding are simple. Unless you:
  1. were deliberately planted
  2. can feed me goodness (wild thornless blackberries are really seedy)
you're out.

So, I ripped out branches longer than I. It's not all just fun and games though. See this thing to the left? That mystery plant is VICIOUS. It has thorns 1/4-1/2" long which break off once they get into you. It hurts like crazy and then once you take them out, you bleed (also like crazy). Please understand, these berries were sweet for many reasons.

If you happen to find them, I highly encourage you to go pick some and enjoy them yourself. Here are some
tips and warnings:
  • Look out for poison ivy, it grows where bramble berries grow, but is not as fun.
  • We love berries, but mice also love berries, and snakes love mice. For this reason and for the poison ivy, wear long pants or boots if you can.
  • Mosquitoes!!!! 'Nuff said.
  • Thorns, be dexterous, there is an art in berry picking and it requires precision
  • If you find wineberries, be forewarned that the berries are sticky on the outside, so don't be too surprised
  • Not all berries are edible, so don't just go eating whatever...please don't
While I will put up a recipe or two relating to wineberries, don't feel that they have to be eaten with other things. Wineberries are great just by themselves.

So go find some berries and Om Nom!