Hejsan and Välkommen travelers and foodie fans. Well, The Traveling Foody family has finally returned home in Seattle and we have been picking all our black berries, strawberries and blueberries. We had noticed that many others are doing the same all around the globe and are also preparing for all the amazing berry festivals. Growing up in Northern Orange County in the United States around Knott’s Berry Farm -strawberry fields galore- and being exposed to family farmers who jammed the wonderful treats everywhere from Minnesota, to our families from Europe, then moving to Washington where I was surrounded by blackberries. The love of the berry runs deep in my family and friends’ way of life. My grandmother would have my mother and my aunts sterilize the jars while she prepared her wonderful jams to sell at the rummage sale where people would pre-order a full year supply of her jams. I’m in the process of learning her secrets so that we can continue the traditions. Berries, like many other treats of the land, bring out the best in people. People come together and become connected to one another by enhancing and indulging in the sweet treats that Mother Earth produces. Berries, that are edible, provide us with fiber, vitamins and cancer –fighting antioxidants.
The Traveling Foody family would like to introduce you to a few of berries from around the world that might be familiar, or not. I know we left many berries out but I figured we would present the more unfamiliar types.
Acai berry: Found in the Amazon jungle located in South America, the Acai berry is dark purple fruit which grows in the palm trees and is high in fatty acids, proteins and antioxidants.
Boysenberry: Boysenberries were developed in California in the 1920’s by crossing the raspberry, blackberry and logan berry. Walter Knott and his wife grew the fruit. Mrs. Knott made the berry farm famous for her preserves and later made a chicken pie shop due to the amount of people who traveled all over to try the preserves.
Bearberry: Bearberries are found in arctic and subarctic zones around the world. The bearberry produces red berries.
Bilberry: Bilberries are similar to blueberries; these tasty berries grow wild throughout northern Europe.
Currant: Currants thrive in regions with cool, moist conditions like England. The round fruits may be translucent white, purple or red with a tart flavor used for preserves or wines.
Cowberry: Cowberries grow wild throughout Canada and Northern Europe. The berry produces a tart red fruit like cranberries. Many people use it for backing and preserves.
Elderberry: Elderberries are comparable to currants. The berries are dark red to purple and make fine wine and preserves. The plant grows well in moist, cool regions.
Farkleberry: Farkleberries are related to the blueberry. Also known as sparkleberry, farkleberries are black and grow wild throughout the Midwest. Birds mainly enjoy this type of berry.
Indian Plum: This blossoming shrub or petite tree is native to the Pacific Northwest, west of the Cascade Mountains. The fruit is reddish and enjoyed mostly by birds.
Logan Berry: Logan Berries are a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry and has a distinct taste. The berry is used mainly in jams and juices.
Persimmon: Persimmons are botanically classified as a berry like the tomato. These round orange fruit were formed initially in the Middle East and Asia and are grown today throughout the Southern United States. They have an acidic taste and somewhat mealy texture.
Tayberry: Tayberries are a hybrid which is a cross between a loganberry and a black raspberry which produces a sweet, red fruit. The berry is grown in moist, fertile soil and is more frost hardy than blackberries.
Thimbleberry: A cousin of refined raspberries, thimbleberries grow from Alaska to northern Mexico. The berry is softer and more perishable than raspberries.
Wintergreen: This plant grows on vines throughout Canada and the Northern United States. The berries have an acerbic taste that get better by chilling.
Youngberry: Youngberry is a hybrid cross between a dewberry, raspberry and a blackberry in 1905. The berries are mainly grown in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
- There is a strawberry museum in Belgium.
- Blueberries are one of the few natural foods that are originally blue.
- Strawberries naturally contain salicylates which is an ingredient found in aspirin.
- Over $3 Billion in berries are sold a year.
- Blackberries contain Vitamin E, which is good for the heart.
- Berries strengthen blood vessels, reduce heart disease and protect eyesight.
- Blackberries and strawberries have high levels of phytoestrogens, which are said to help prevent breast and cervical cancer.
- Over 80 percent of strawberries grown in the United States are from California.
I like to leave you this week with a Berry Breeze beverage, Blueberry Balsamic Rosemary Chicken and a Blackberry Mojito beverage. Thanks for reading this week’s blog and supporting us. Have a wonderful week and don’t forget to be a part of the adventure.
Makes 2 drinks
- 3 Ounces Makers Mark bourbon
- 3 Ounces fresh orange juice
- 3 Ounces cranberry juice
- 1 ½ Ounces Cream Sherry
- 1 Ounces fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ Ounces simple syrup
- 1 Can lemon lime soda
- 1 Can club soda
- 2 Strawberries
- 2 Sprigs fresh mint
Combine the bourbon, sherry, orange juice, cranberry juice, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and then strain into two tall glasses.
Top each glass with a splash of lemon lime soda and a splash of club soda and garnish with strawberry and mint sprig.
Blueberry Balsamic Rosemary Chicken
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or 2 pounds chicken legs and thighs)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 Cups Blueberries
- ½ Cups balsamic vinegar
- ¼ Cups maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon rosemary, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter. Season chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and add to the pan when the oil and butter are hot and bubbly.
Over medium – high heat, sear chicken breasts until golden brown. Remove to a baking dish and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter to the skillet and stir in shallots and cook until soft and lightly caramelized. Add blueberries and cook 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, maple syrup, rosemary, remaining salt and pepper and simmer 10 minutes, or until the blueberries have collapsed.
Pour the mixture over the chicken and put baking dish in the top half of the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes, until the chicken has cooked through to a temperature of 165°F.
- 12 Blackberries
- 12 large mint leaves
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ½ Cups seltzer water
- ¼ Cups vodka or rum
- 6 to 8 ice cubes
Muddle blackberries, mint leaves, sugar, lemon juice and lime juice in a tall slender glass until berries are mostly crushed. Add the seltzer, vodka, and ice. Stir well and serve.
-Damien – The Traveling Foody