Bountiful Berry Season Beginnings

One of the things I love about living in Maine is the incredible wealth of wild growing edibles all over the place. After the rain of the past couple of days, this morning’s sunny welcome and mild temps fairly screamed for me to get outside and talk a walk, which I did. One of the things I do from about early July til November is carry along some sort of collecting vessel for berries, apples, greens, herbs, flowers, you name it I collect it and make use of it!

I was thrilled to find that the red raspberries lining both sides of the road are ripening by the proverbial bushel and I picked 3 quarts in about 10 minutes. While I walked I thought about what I could do with the bounty, since I still have frozen berries from last year for making smoothies and ice cream. I decided to make a new batch of raspberry vinegar, which I love to put on fresh farmer’s market finds all season long, and the last of my batch from last year I just used up after Open Farm Day on Sunday. Infused vinegars and oils are extremely simple to make and lots of fun to use. I also made a batch of raspberry sauce for ice cream and waffle topping, and had just enough berries left over to make a batch of my family’s favorite raspberry iced tea.

I hope you enjoy the berry bounty that is just beginning, and make use of the tasty recipes below!

Sweet Raspberry Vinegar

  • 1 quart fresh raspberries
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Bring the raspberries just to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh colander or double layered cheesecloth into a large bowl, but do not press or squeeze the fruit. Discard the fruit solids and let the juice rest for one hour. Add the cider vinegar and sugar and stir well to make sure it is combined. Pour the vinegar into a sterilized jar or decorative bottle and store in a cool, dark place.

Yield 2 3/4 cups

Raspberry Sauce

  • 1/2 quart fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

Combine the raspberries, sugar, flour and molasses in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it thickens, this usually takes about 5 minutes. Serve warm or room temp over ice cream, or my family’s favorite, waffles.

Refreshing Raspberry Iced Tea

  • 8 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 5 individual tea bags
  • 1/2 quart fresh raspberries

In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups of the water to a boil. Stir the sugar in until it dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags. steep for 5-8 minutes, the longer it steeps the stronger the tea flavor. Discard the tea bags and add 4 more cups water.

In another saucepan, bring the raspberries and remaining 1/4 cup water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Strain and discard the pulp. Add the juice to the tea mixture. Chill for at least two hours. Serve in chilled glasses over ice.

 

 

 

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Moira McGarry

About Moira McGarry

I'm a 33 year old wife, mother, organic farmer, and Tractor Supply Company team member in the Dover-Foxcroft store. I began cooking at a very young age with my parents, aunts and uncles and have been passionate about food ever since. Every Sunday my aunt and I would bake a cake after church and those are some of my fondest memories, as well as a tradition I carry on today.