Friday, April 22, 2011

Dewberry season

I have inherited a lot of quirky traits from my sweet mother. I will purchase just about anything, if it's the deal of a lifetime. I don't like people to use glass drinkware outside. I resist ordering soft drinks at restaurants ('that's where they get you!). And I live for this time of year, when the Texas dewberries are ripe on the vines and I can scavenge the wilderness, in search of those dark purple gems. Mom likes to tell me about the first time she took me dewberry-picking, somewhere along a train track in Richmond, Texas, me 2 years old and her about 8 months' pregnant with my little bro. Yes, she is a committed women (and perhaps should be...).


It was a delightful surprise that Mr Leaven also grew up picking berries, although he had never heard of a 'dewberry' until being adopted by my family. He too loves the thrill of the chase, seeking out the blackest, biggest, juiciest berry while deftly avoiding those really pointy thorns that surround the little buggers on all sides. Yeah, not so deftly in my case, anyway. Right now, every keystroke sends burning pain down a different finger from the hundreds of scratches and mostly-removed splinters in my hands and forearms. Don't get me wrong - Mr Leaven is not unscathed either. He has a delightful puncture wound in his foot from a hidden stick (and then he slipped into the stream we intended to cross, coating the wound with muddy goop and [worst of all] spilling a few of the berries). So, so worth it. We have 2 pails-full of ripe dewberries, ready for cobbler, jam, sorbet, cocktails, vinaigrettes, and who knows what else.

Pre-foot injury. I swear I did not force him to get into the water to pick the perfect dewberries growing on the bank.
Our pup had some adventures of her own, including flying through grass 4 times her height, fording the stream at least 20 times, taking a couple dips in the reservoir, and discovering a very large turtle in the middle of a field of grass. She is tuckered out.

These are now 'dewberry pants'.

Choxie's Intriguing Friend




Can you see the camouflaged inchworm?
One of my favorite parts of the dewberry experience has always been washing the berries and waiting a few minutes for whatever critters have been transferred to our home via dewberry. This is because I am a nerd. I studied an amazing caterpillar specimen this afternoon. He looks just like one of those fuzzy brown pollen thingys from oak trees (or some abundant tree out here). He is a master of disguise. The photo will not do him justice, but that will not prevent me from sharing it.

There he is again!!

Tonight, we ate a few, had a yummy gin/dewberry/lemon juice/simple syrup cocktail or two (we will need to work on the proportions - hard work - before providing the recipe), and then crashed in front of the TV because berry-pickin' is hard work. I had a wonderful time catching up with must-see TV (does anyone still call it that? I love NBC Thursdays!) and the rest of my family fell asleep immediately.

Last week, the first load of dewberries was made into a really lipsmacking sorbet. I managed to make 3 dessert items last week (flourless chocolate cake, dewberry sorbet, orange curd) without a single photo of any of them. One of these days, I'll remember to use my camera and your mind will be blown. Just believe now that the sorbet is as good as you are imagining, put on some long pants and maybe some boots, find yourself a dewberry spot (beside railroads, fences, concrete embankments, dog parks are good tries), pick 4 cups' worth, and sorbet it up. Oh, word to the wise - do not decide there are so many delicious berries that you're just gonna sit down in the middle of the patch and pick away. While you may not find thorns attached to your posterior, you may find out what a chigger is and how much better your life would be if you had never met one. Funny that I end each dewberry experience bleeding, hurting, and/or itching, and yet I'm back at it the next year. I must have a genetic mutation. Thanks, Mom.

Twin berries! Every berry on this vine came in a pair - if you look closely, you can see that the green berry in the right lower corner is also a twin! They weren't conjoined, but they were definitely monozygotic. OK, uber-nerd moment over. As you were.

1 comment:

  1. wow is this where he got the ivy from? eeek! Looks like fun tho

    ReplyDelete