Foraging

Wild Raspberries

September 21, 2017

On our property we are fortunate to have an abundance of wild raspberries.

We moved into our home at the end of March. Once the spring hit and things started turning green I had an inkling that we just may be surrounded by an abundance of free fruit!

Chances are you probably know what raspberry bushes look like. You may have been raspberry picking before, seen the small bushes at your garden centre or have grown them yourself.

Identifying Wild Raspberries

 

If you’re not sure what wild raspberries look like there are a few characteristics you can look for.

I’ll also post some pictures because pictures just make it easier!

Raspberry bushes grow wild all through North America. They can be found on roadsides, ditches and on the edge of Aspen forests. Raspberry plants are perennial.

This biggest indicator that you’ve found wild raspberries is prickles! Lots of prickles! The shrubs grow to about 2 meters tall with oval leaflets that are 5-10 cm long with toothed edges. The bushes flower in the spring, white flowers with 5 petals. From there the flowers turn into RASPBERRIES!!

Hold up minute though. Did you know there are black raspberries? Yes, all this time I thought I was picking raspberries and blackberries.

That’s not that case.

So what’s the difference?

You know how when you pick a raspberry and it comes of the bush hollow in the middle like a little cup? This is the same for black raspberries.

Black berries aren’t hollow they are solid to the stem.

Enough with all the technical stuff.

Here are some pictures of the bushes and the berries for identifying purposes.

 

Picture of wild raspberry bushes
Our raspberries are out of control! In a good way!

We tried one year to get the raspberries under control. We cut them all back and tried to make pathways so it was easier to get into the middle of the patch. That was a mistake. The next year the raspberries came back with a vengeance. We have a lot more now, but it’s really hard to get all of the raspberries we’d like. We don’t mind sharing with the wildlife though.

picture of a black raspberry
Not a black berry! Black raspberries are just as good as red ones!

Mid July is prime berry picking time here on our property.

I’m very lucky to have avid berry pickers living with us in the form of our children. The will do just about anything to fill up their bowls with berries. If it means climbing over rocks and pushing through shrubs and prickle bushes they’ll do it! I often hear ‘Mom! Look at all those over there. I just have to get a few more’!

Let’s be honest here I’m no better. You will see me in the summer covered in scratches from raspberry bushes.

picture of a childs hand holding raspberries and black raspberries
A small haul of berries. A few red currants too.

How Do We Use Our Raspberries?

 

I would like to say I have the will power and patience to collect enough berries to make jam but they’re just so good.

We are lucky if our bowls make it a day in the house.

I’ll try harder next year. Maybe raspberry muffins, or raspberry cordial?

picture of a wild raspberry bush
The black and red raspberries growl mixed together.

There’s something about having freshly foraged fruit on our table that makes me happy. I’m thankful that we don’t have to rely on foraging and that the grocery store is only a 30 minute drive. But having the ability to forage opens up many doors.

It’s gets the kids excited and gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Knowing that they can find food for us is a big deal. It is for us too.

What kind of food are you able to forage on your property?

 

 

 

 

 

** I tried to think of a good disclaimer where I point out that wild foraging always has risks, but lucky for me Concerned Children’s Advertisers took care of that way back in 1993 with this Public Service Announcement. Enjoy this catchy and memorable throw back and remember boys and girls – “If you don’t know just what it is, don’t put it in your mouth” **

Picture of wild raspberry bush

 

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