Autunmberry Delight   6 comments

After picking out leaves, stems and bugs, I gave my Autumnberries, Elaeagnus umbellata, a good rinse; and now we’re ready to rock. 

Pour some into a pot, but, no more than 2 or 3 deep; and start mashing.  I used a jar to begin (this jar is full of water and St. John’s Wort dregs, steeping to make fabric dye); and finished with a potato masher.  It’s great bat-wing exercise; so switch hands while mashing.  If you don’t know where your bat-wings are, just mash a couple of gallons of berries.  Then you will know.  Certainly you could use a fruit mill or sieve.  I don’t have either; and haven’t found either, anywhere, yet.  Folks suggest I go on the internet.

Playing music helps the job.  I listened to Rage Against The Machine and then Bach.  It’s also helps to think about something that pisses you off.  I thought about the folks who enjoy the river and then forget to take their garbage with them.  And before you know it, all the berries are smushed.

Next transfer the mash to a strainer.  Lots of juice will immediately pour through.  I reserve the juice on the side.  This juice is so delicious and very difficult to put aside.  I drank a lot!

Then, I weighted the mash down with a bowl full of rocks; while I mashed another batch of berries.  That’s Mr Happy on top! (see note at bottom)

Now, remove the weight and smush the pulp through the strainer.  A wooden spoon works well; just press and spread; occasionally tipping the strainer and scraping the bottom seems to be a good idea, to me.  Soon I have mostly seeds in a pasty ball of pulp.  I reserved the seed pulp to make jelly with.  The fruit puree is now ready to do with as I please.  I’m freezing most of mine in pint bags.  You could fill an ice cube try to make individual portions of baby food.  The fresh puree is great over ice cream or yogurt.  The juice is wonderful at room temp, chilled or hot.  I warmed a cup of juice, added 3 cloves and a ½ teaspoon of good, local honey.  Now that will take the chill off the frostiest, rainy Autumn day!  I would imagine my stores of lycopene are way up.

From 2 gallons of berries I filled 5 pint bags with puree, 3 pint bags with seed pulp and got about a quart of juice.  From picking to clean-up took about 3 hours.  Not bad for a fun afternoon.  To celebrate this bounty I think I’ll have a glass of ice cold Autumnberry juice and a bowl of vanilla yogurt with Autunmberry puree.  YUM!

Right now there are berries to pick.  We’ll make fruit leather on the next rainy day.  (the forecast says rain, tomorrow)

Thanx for stopping by.

 About Mr. Happy:

Many years ago I was taking a “mad” walk.  When I’m upset, walking helps me unwind myself and whatever it is that’s bothering me.  This particular walk I was really mad; kicking the toes of my shoes into the ground with each step.  Of course I was looking down.  And, there he was; just staring back at me, all mad faced.  I laughed, and laughed, until I forgot what I was mad about.  So, Mr. Happy came home with me.  He travels with me.  He sleeps near me.  Mr. Happy reminds me that no matter how pissed off I am, there is always something to smile about.  Right, Mr. Happy?!?!?!?!

Disclaimer:

I disclaim any and all liability resulting from the use of, collection of, preparation of, ingestion of, reaction to or contact with, any plant written about here.  Use extreme caution when collecting, preparing and eating any wild plant food for the first time.  Make certain of your identification.  You, and you alone, are responsible for what you collect, prepare and consume; and for whatever consequences that may result.  Anyone can have an allergic reaction to any food, at any time.  Use common sense, go slow, do the research, check and double check, and then check again, then proceed with extreme caution.  One mistake could cost your life; or worse, someone else’s life.  Know the laws where you intend to forage.  Whenever appropriate get permission.  Check public records for area pesticide spraying programs.  Never harvest right after spraying.  Find out if and when it will be safe.

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