The Lesser-Known Berry

Many local orchards have an abundance of beautiful fall red raspberries ready to be picked right now. Available through the first frost, raspberries have a remarkably long picking season in spite of being quite perishable. Though only a few special places have a lesser-known berry—the golden raspberry. One such place is Erwin Orchards in South Lyon.

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Erwin Orchards is a welcoming, expansive farm with u-pick raspberries, apples, cherries, asparagus and pumpkins. They have a bakery on site preparing—my particular favorite—pumpkin glazed donuts. Also available from the farm are honey, maple syrup, cider, apple butter and jam.

But, we were there for the golden raspberries. Carrying a basket in each hand, we headed out to the field. Our plan was to fill both baskets to the rim with raspberries while dreaming of preparing baked goods and jars of jam. Picking your own raspberries extends the freshness of this very fragile berry by going right from field to fork.

 

The distinctive pale yellow to orange-gold hue of the golden raspberries is all distinguishes it from the red raspberry. Nutrition, structure and seasonality are remarkably the same. Golden raspberries are lovely to cook and serve. Sweet with a hint of tart, golden raspberries are wonderful for many recipes.

 

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Golden Raspberry Jam
4 to 5 pounds of fresh golden raspberries
3 cups sugar
9, ½ pint jars

Combine raspberries and sugar in a large pot; let stand 10 minutes. Place pot on stove over medium heat. Bring to a boil slowly; stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 to 40 minutes or until starts to thicken; stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Ladle into clean, hot ½ pint jars leaving ¼-inch head space. Wipe rims and place two piece canning lids. Pack and process according to water bath canning instructions for 15 minutes.

—Pam Aughe, R.D

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Jams, Jellies and Preserves

 

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The charm of living in a large agricultural state like Michigan is the many u-pick produce farms. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries are some of my favorite fruits to pick, eat and preserve. Though, admittedly, I’m often an overzealous picker and end up with excess fruit. Freezing is always the easy route but I adore making jam and canning. Many, many jars of jam later, I realize I can only eat so many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Naturally, I thought to bake with the extra homemade fruit jams.

Oatmeal Jam Bars

6 tablespoons butter, softened

½ cup light brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

½  teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

¾ cup jam

Preheat oven to 350o. Combine butter and sugar in a mixer and beat until well combined. Add flour, baking soda and salt; stir until incorporated and crumbly. Stir in oats. Place 2/3 of oat mixture on bottom of 8-inch square baking pan lined with parchment paper. Top with jam and spread evenly. Press together the remaining oat mixture with your hands and place chunks of oats on top of jam to mostly cover. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until fruit is bubbly and top is golden.

Cook’s Note: Bake with your favorite flavor of jam or preserves. I used strawberry—made with strawberries from Middleton Berry Farm—and it was delicious. If the fruit is very thick, you can lightly warm in the microwave to be able to spread easily.

Here are some other great ideas for using up homemade fruit preserves, jellies and jams:

In the dessert category, use jam in layer cakes, filling for muffins and donuts, thumbprint cookies, cheesecake topping, ice cream sundae topping or layer into trifle. Kids would love the jam frozen into popsicles.

Beverages also make for great use of jams. You can stir the sweetened fruit into lemonade, ice tea or Italian soda. For the grownups, mixed into cocktails with your favorite spirit is delicious. Also, blend with yogurt or ice cream for a smoothie.

Breakfast is an easy way to use jam swirled into yogurt or oatmeal. It is also a great topping for biscuits, waffles or pancakes. If you are little more adventurous, try making stuffed French toast or crepes.

For the savory route, top baked brie, goat cheese or cream cheese with preserves. Spread in the middle of a stuffed pork loin or chicken breast, pour over a ham as a glaze or stir into barbeque sauce. Sometimes simple is best—just place jam in a small dish on a cheese platter.

Raspberries, peaches, pears, apples and cherries are all waiting to be picked right now at many local u-pick farms. Go to www.upickmichigan.com to find a place near you.

—Pam Aughe, R.D.