Tag Archive | vitamins

Black and Red, I love both those berries!

The different stages of ripeness.

The different stages of ripeness.

really love finding wild berries.  Black, Blue, Red, I like them all.  I’m going to focus on the Black and Red today though.  Raspberries come in season long before the Blackberries, which gives me a full 2 months or more to go berry picking!  Yeah!  I love berry picking.  Ok, well I do like berry picking but not as much as berry eating!  Berry picking can be a very “prickly” business.  I get pricked quite often, actually.  If your going to go picking berries, especially if they grow in the wild, it is a really good idea to wear long sleeves and heavy pants, such as jeans.  If you don’t you might end up with big scratches and bleeding spots.  Trust me, been there and done that repeatedly.  Not a good idea.  I tend to plan out my berry picking activities now instead of just going on a whim.  It’s painless that way!

Ripe Raspberries in all their heavenly glory.

Ripe Raspberries in all their heavenly glory.

First we shall talk about raspberries, being they ripen first up here in the Northern Woods.  My Mom absolutely loves them.  Way more than I do.  Therefore, when ever I go out to pick raspberries I pick them for her.  She typically makes me a jar of jam from them.

Raspberries are so fragile, so light, so fragrant.  Their taste just pops in your mouth.  At the height of ripeness they have the perfect balance between sweetness and acidity.   They are also full of good stuff!  In one cup of raspberries there are lots of greatness, such as they are downright loaded with Vitamin C.  32.2 Grams.  54% of your daily value.  Vitamin K, 9.6 mcg and 12% of your DV.  Manganese, 0.8 mcg, 41% of your DV.  They are a good source of dietary fiber.  They are super low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol.  They are 82% carbohydrate, 10% fat and 8% protein.  In other words, yummy!   Besides that they taste good and can easily added to many food items.  They can be baked into a muffin, eaten raw over some cereal, added to yogurt with granola, etc. etc.

When picking raspberries it is wisest to take several small containers instead of one large container.  The reason is that they crush easily.

Beautiful red raspberries hanging nicely for me to pluck.

Beautiful red raspberries hanging nicely for me to pluck.

Raspberries are absolutely wonderful when turned into a jam, preserves, or conserve.  I personally decided to go different this year and made a peach and raspberry preserve.  Preserves are more like a honey consistency and the fruit is a little bigger than a jam.  It spreads easily on toast.  It tastes great on toast with butter!

Raspberry Peach Preserves.

Raspberry Peach Preserves.

 

Now , I’d like to talk about Blackberries.  Many people confuse blackberries and DewBerries.  There is one major difference.  Dewberries typically grown along the ground on a vine and Blackberries grow upright on canes or stalks.   Look at the pictures below to see what I mean.

Dewberries grow along the ground on vines.

Dewberries grow along the ground on vines.

Blackberries grow upright

Blackberries grow upright

Blackberries are also bigger than dewberries.  There are also black raspberries.  They grow in the same exact way as blackberries.  There are a few differences though.  The black raspberries are shaped the same as red raspberries, round and with a hollow after you pick them.  They leave a white half circle of what I call pith on the vine.  The underside of their leaves is also almost white.  Blackberries on the other hand  leave no visible pith, are not hollow, and are more  light green under the leaves.  They are also more oblong shaped.

Blackberries are more oblong shaped

Blackberries are more oblong shaped

Blackberries are full of natural vitamins and minerals.  They are 50% of your Daily Value of Vitamin C in one cup!  They are also 41% of your manganese for the day.  They are also a good source of folate, vitamin K, and copper.  Just like raspberries they are low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol.  They are 79% carb, 10% fat, and 11% protein.  All in all a good healthy choice.  They are very versatile.  Being they are a tougher berry they hold up well while baking, freezing, and picking.  You can use one large vessel rather that several smaller for picking.  These berries don’t crush as easily.

Personally I adore blackberries and they are my favorite summertime fruit.  I like them for all sorts of yummy reason.  They are great for snacking, they are sweet and less acidic that raspberries, they make wonderful wine, etc.  I try and get gallons of these little delicious bites in my freezer every year.  I make jams, preserves, and crumbles with them.

Rows of blackberry and raspberry bushes growing wild along a trail.

Rows of blackberry and raspberry bushes growing wild along a trail.

 

Dewberries are not as sweet as blackberries in my opinion.  I find them rather tart and a little bitter.  It might just be the weather this year though.  It has been rainy and overcast much of the summer.  Temperatures have been hovering around the low to high 70’s all summer.  In order for berries to get sweet they need pure unadulterated sunshine for days and days. A good mix of rain and sun is best for the greatest tasting berries.  I’ve noticed all the berries are a little bitter this year because of it.  Bummer  😦

Dewberry vines are creeping across the ground

Dewberry vines are creeping across the ground

Dewberries are smaller.

Dewberries are smaller.

I don’t know as much about Dewberries as they are a discovery I made only last year and I am figuring out ways to use them.  They ripen about the same time as the blueberries here in Northern Michigan, typically July.  I tried mixing the blue and dewberries together into a pie and it was horrible!  It was bitter and sour!  I know many people who love Dewberries.  I’m hoping next year they are sweeter and I can fall in love with them too.

So, in closing today I’d like to say GET OUT AND PICK!  It’s good for you!  You get exercise, hang out in nature, and reap the rewards of luscious berries!  Besides they are completely organic and GMO free when you find them growing wild.  I like that.  I like that VERY much.

 

 

The Bounty in your own backyard!

Have you ever taken the time to walk around your yard and wonder what really might be there, to eat? Your probably thinking that this is a ridiculous question, that of course you haven’t. Maybe you should! Foraging for wild edibles has many benefits. Variety in diet, saves money on groceries, essential vitamins and minerals, among other things. Let’s go over some of the wonderful and exciting reasons to forage.

Variety in diet:

Many of us are tired of the same variety of fruits and vegetables that you can buy at the store. Mostly it is the same things trip after trip. Potatoes, lettuce, oranges, etc. Instead of plain old iceberg lettuce have you ever tried a spring mix? Notice the difference in texture, variety, and taste? Some of the “lettuce” in that spring mix can be found in your own backyard. Yes, seriously! Dandelion greens for example are a common staple in Spring Mixes. Dandelion greens are full of vitamins such as A, C, and K. They also have minerals. Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphorous to name a few. These “weeds” are full of nutritional value and add variety to diet.

Saves money on groceries:

Imagine the money that could be saved by foraging for your own wild greens in order to make a salad for dinner. It costs almost nothing! It does however take time, knowledge, and determination. Your backyard probably has Dandelion, Mallow, Purslane, Broadleaf Plantain and other wild greens. Taking the time to learn what these are is invaluable. Imagine picking, for free, a salad from your own backyard or neighborhood. The sense of accomplishment you get feels amazing!

Essential Vitamins and Minerals:

Foraging for food in the wild is an excellent and sustainable way to get your daily vitamins and minerals. Take for an example the dandelion greens discussed above. These greens are loaded with valuable nutrients. One cup of dandelion has 5588 IU of vitamin A. That is 112% of the daily value. There are 19.3 mg of vitamin C, that is 32% of the daily value. 428 mcg of vitamin K which is 535% of the daily value! Imagine how much you could save buying vitamins! Dandelions offer much more in nutritional value than 1 cup of chopped iceberg lettuce. Let us compare. Iceberg lettuce has 361 IU of Vitamin A, 7% of the daily value. 2.0 mcg vitamin C which is 3% of your daily value and 17.4mcg of Vitamin K, 22% DV. The comparison is spectacular. Which would you rather eat?

Foraging in your yard, community, county, can be very rewarding. Besides the nutritional benefits there are the health benefits. Being outdoors and exercising. Get moving and forage!

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