Thimbleberries. The Cutest Fruit to Forage For
My goals over the next few years include reducing my reliance on store-bought food and getting most of my food from my own garden and from the surrounding forest. This is my first year on the homestead and after a few months of getting just some of my food this way, I’m now finding it hard to palate store-bought food. Fresh picked foods are so much lighter and full of life.
I’ve been spoiled!! Mother Nature has now ruined me for anything store bought.
My latest forest acquisition is thimbleberries, aka Rosaceae Rubus parviflorus, which grows up the mountain behind my house and down in the river valley along the bike trail. Part of the same family as raspberries, the plant is found from Alaska to British Columbia, Ontario and Michigan; and south to California and into Mexico.
It grows in sunny forest clearings, near roadsides, and along cliffs. Usually the juiciest looking berries are on the edge of the cliff just beyond my reach. I imagine the headline, “Local Woman Falls to a Horrible Death Grasping for Berries”.
Loved by birds, bears, and skunks alike, around here, in south central British Columbia, the berries ripen in late July. The leaves look similar to maple leaves and are soft and fuzzy. The stems have prickles and the plant produces lovely white flowers in spring. Compared to raspberries, thimbleberries are very soft. They are flatter, brighter red, and have a tangier flavor. To me, they taste more like strawberries than raspberries.
Nothing is more satisfying than a day spent picking berries in the forest. Fresh air, mossy banks, and after an hour or two, a bowl full of loveliness.
Much of the harvest was devoured before I got back down the mountain to my house. But I managed to keep about 2 cups of berries reserved for a special pie. I used this recipe for vegan Strawberry Cheesecakes from Richa Hingle (www.veganricha.com). Her original recipe is for 2 individual strawberry tarts. I doubled the recipe to make a whole pie and used two cups of thimbleberries instead of 10 large strawberries.
The result is pretty and delicious.
This vegan cheesecake is dairy free and lighter than actual ‘cheese’ cake. The combination of the thimbleberries and tofu/cashew base is very tasty.
I hope you can find some equally cute-acious berries near your place and have a wonderful day picking and snacking.