Sunday, June 30, 2013

What To Do With An Abundance Of Raspberries

Raspberries are in my blood. My grandfather grew long rows of the tasty fruit next to his house located four blocks away from my childhood home. Here is a photo of Grandpa with the neighborhood berry pickers a few years before my time.

I wasn't much use to Grandpa as a berry picker. More berries went in my mouth than in the box tied around my waste. The summer I turned nine the berries disappeared after my grandparents moved and new houses were built on their land. I mourned the loss.

The next summer my father planted a ten foot row of a vigorous raspberry variety given to him by an elderly friend. On June and July mornings I could go out to the garden and have my fill.

When Gary and I moved into my childhood home four and a half years ago, the raspberry bushes that had produced for more than fifty years were struggling to survive.

I pulled out a few remaining shoots and stuck them in pots for the summer. Two years ago I planted the scrawny sticks in a raised bed I built along the fence between our garage and the neighbors to the north. Although they didn't look promising, we enjoyed a small crop from those sticks and coddled new shoots hoping for better days.

This spring the shoots exploded with blossoms and berries by the thousands.

We've been picking every day for at least three weeks. First a hand full, then a small basket full, then a bowl full of bright red sweet fruit. The berries are so big they fill a bowl in no time even when I eat too many to count.

What to do with an abundance of raspberries: eat by the handful, serve on ice cream, bake raspberry cobbler and shortcake, pile on top of waffles, mix with yogurt, and share with friends or neighbors. A few fall to the ground because the foliage hides them until it is too late. It's a sin to waste raspberries.

What else can we do with an abundance of raspberries. A comment from Gary about tasting raspberry lemonade at the grocery store gave me an idea. What if we combine raspberry lemonade, fresh raspberries and my favorite gin? Last night Gary concocted a drink.

"What do you think?" Gary said.

"Nectar of the gods," I said. "A perfect way to use an abundance of raspberries."


  1. A multi-talented woman: gardener, photographer, mixologist and writer. Not always in that order, right? And I'm sure I left off a few. Your description of planting a few twigs and coddling them reminded me of how my writing process begins. I take a few thin ideas and plant them on the page. There's not much at first but I have faith that they will blossom. With that faith, I nurture those ideas, tend to them every day and never give up on them. It may take a season or two, but some blossom and some I use as compost for the others.

  2. So true about writing and so frustrating when the compost outweighs the fruit. Thank you for reminding me to have faith.