Boysenberry Syrup

July 27, 2010 at 8:19 pm (Vegetables)

boysenberry vines

After harvesting, too often cooking is the bottleneck. I typically have three days or so to do something with my vegetables– either sharing with kin or kith, or cooking it myself. The last couple years boysenberry bushes have volunteered themselves, growing from the margins of the fence toward the garden. The consequence the garden proper is being surrounded by a ‘fence’ of berry and tomato bushes. While the apricot and peach trees on the corners deposit their seed. It’s actually quite beautiful.

Boysenberries make great pancake syrup. But you first need to pick them! While picking the boysenberries I noticed two kinds of vine which I distinguished between male and female. The male vines bore no fruit and grow rather aggressively with fairly big thorns. The female vines bore flowers and had smaller diameters. These latter vines carried the berries, and of course I picked these as they turned a dark purple. It’s so easy to get not only pricked but berry juice all over your fingers. I was able to get about five cups of berries this year, and will let them grow, only pruning the male vines which tend to cross into the garden. Five cups of berries produced about 3-1/2 jars of boysenberry syrup. It’s easy to make. Simply put your berries in a pot, add a little water, and cook at a moderate to low temperature w/ a couple cups of sugar. I’d say one cup of berries to 1 or 1 cup of sugar. Stir and sample until it tastes good with a smooth consistency. Once the syrup ‘glazes’, they should be done.  The recipe is the same for apples, peaches, and plums.


Another summer treat was apricots. The garden started with three apricot trees. Over the last year and a half, I’ve been raking up the badly bruised fruit while saving the seeds from eaten ones, and throwing all into the compost bins. As I add compost to the garden, these seeds naturally sprout. As a consequence we have about 15 apricot seedlings with three rapidly growing trees. I plan to retire from bunny gardening (moving on to bigger things) in the next couple years, so as I move on I expect to leave behind a peach-apricot orchard. I am also passing on apricot and peach seedlings (between 7″-36″) to green friends.

Anyway, apricots are perhaps some of the most tasty fruit. Cobbler is my favorite, and you can make a quick cobbler by simply washing and deseeding your apricots, throwing them into a glass cooking pan. You don’t need to grease it. Just throw it in. Mix some biscuit with a little milk, and you can spread the dough on top. Throw some cinnamon if you like, and cook for about a half hour at 350, oven temp. It’s good stuff, fast, takes no sugar, and great for morning food w/ coffee, or desert for any meal.

The trinity season is really a time of bounty. We have tons of tomatoes falling off the vine. About 5 to 10 tomatoes daily. We also are behind on kale, beat, and collard harvest. A couple quick notes: kale is rich in all vitamins especially A, C, and iron. But it lacks B12. Collards are nearly identical plants to kale. They grow in virtually the same fashion, are totally rugged and robust, but unlike kale, have B12 but less A. Together, you have a total, off the chart, nutrient combination. So, make sure you grow both. I am totally convinced kale is a miracle plant, and in CA it grows through the winter!

putting in drip lines

My second gardening tip: while sponge lines clog up with dirt and must be thrown away after one season, 6″ drip lines also clog. Though the 6″ lasts longer, they still get clogged up with dirt. However, unlike sponge you can poke the 6″ holes with a pin and dislodge old mud. Just turn on your drip irrigation (the hose) and note where the dry spots lie. Then treat those areas that appear plugged. Sponge lines work awesome, but only a couple months. The others last longer and in the end will save you money. Drop sponge lines.

the Fargo and Bartlett families praying, cooking, and eating at camp

Lastly, Amanda and I will be getting married August 14th. We’ll be moving closer to her work. I already commute vast distances, so this is not a factor. Meanwhile, the garden will continue, and I’ll be planting another at my aunt’s. So, there will be some expansion of bunny garden this next year, despite us moving closer to the city. Meanwhile, we hope to invite friends for meals and prayer at our new place, of course sharing some of the delectables from the vine. We also survived our fist camping trip!

God Bless you all!


1 Comment

  1. Benton H Marder said,

    Boysenberries make a marvellous jam, too, which is commercially available.

    Another favourite which grows here in south Florida, but not north of Ocala, is Surinam Cherries. These grow on a bush. When ripe, they look like ribbed cherries. Pick when dark red. Makes a wonderful preserve; the way my neighbour made it, it was a bit stiff which is more suitable on crackers rather than bread. I love ’em straight off the bush.

    California weather being what it is, Surinam Cherries just might grow in southern parts of the state. Be woth asking the county agent about this. The bushes are quite hardy but, as I said, don’t grow north of Ocala.

    My cousin Walter and his wife Linna know them from Belize years ago.. It doesn’t hurt to have more fruit to work with or just nibble.

    By the way, have you seen that commercial on the tube about the bunny and the rattlesnake?


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