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Wineberry Alert


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This morning, we picked three quarts of wineberries in a half-hour, within a five minute walk from our house. A perfect confluence of rain and heat has resulted in the biggest crop I've ever seen. I saw people picking yesterday along Macarthur Blvd. in Glen Echo, and in past years I have seen them growing along Little Falls Pkwy. in Bethesda. They are usually found in cutover areas on the edge of the woods, and paths and trails that are periodocally cut back. Go get 'em!

I was at a family gathering at a Pennsylvania farmhouse on Saturday, and found a bumper crop of black raspberries along the road, which taste infinitely better than wineberries, IMHO. Too bad we don't have those growing in the city... I brought home about a quart of them, and we had a wild blackcap pancake breakfast with some of our neighbors this morning. Wow, were they delicious!

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They grow along the Capitol Crescent trail (from Bethesda to Georgetown) too.  I usually stop and eat a few if I'm biking there and see them, but damn, those things are tart when eaten raw.    What can they be used for?

Check out this link that has a few wineberry recipies at the bottom of the page.

http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Fo.../Wineberry.html

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Whatever you do with them, they need sweetening. I generally use them to make preserves, which have a brilliant red color. I discussed wineberries with an elderly lady selling homemade preserves in Maine a couple of years ago. Her suggestion was to add a few drops of almond extract, to improve the flavor. So far, I've lightly cooked and pureed them, strained out the seeds, and now have about six cups of wineberry slush. I'll probably make jelly tomorrow. What I have now could also make beautiful sorbet.

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