One of the reasons we love the springtime at Cross Creek Cattle Company is the enjoyment we receive picking berries. The kids love the hunt and their love for the berries is evident all over their faces and hands. Purple lips and purple hands signal a successful outing.
Some years we have bumper crops while other years are lighter than normal. Last year was different. Due to the drought there were no berries to pick at all. The blooms shriveled up into nothing. I would not quite call this year’s season a bumper crop, but there are plenty of juicy berries ripening all over the place. Fortunately we had so much rain over the winter that the berries certainly benefited from the precipitation.
Dewberries ripen sooner than the more well-known blackberry. The plants lay closer to the ground or love to grow up a fence row. The berry itself is smaller and more tart than a blackberry, too. If you don’t mind teeny tiny seeds characteristic of most berries, then you will love dewberries.
Cooked they make beautiful deep purple dishes from dewberry jam to dewberry cobbler. For instructions on making dewberry jam, please read my article at Texas Homesteader. Eating them straight from the vine washed only with the morning dew is my children’s favorite way to eat them. Like other berries, you only want to wash them when you are ready to use them. Otherwise, they mold easily.
Dewberries freeze well, too, so that you can enjoy them year round. Simply wash them and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Lay flat in a freezer for an hour or two. When frozen, transfer the berries into a freezer bag. This method allows the berries to remain separate instead of being frozen into one big blob.
This season does not last long so you have to take advantage of it while it lasts. Freezing, canning, and eating them by the handfuls is our family’s method. What is yours?