Types of Edible Berries
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The kinds of berries that are familiar to most people are the ones you can find the grocery store: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. There are many other kinds of flavorable berries growing in the wild that are edible. Many are rich in Vitamin C.
Never eat any wild berries unless you're certain you know what it is, because some wild berries are poisonous.
Named for their colour, which is orange or salmon pink, these berries are also called thimbleberries. You can find them in late spring through early summer in semi-shaded areas in America.
Wild cherries grow in Europe and are ripe in June. One way to can identify them is by the flocks of birds that usually surround them.
Mulberry and Dewberry
Mulberries can be black, red, or white and they grow in colder climates than any other berry. With the look of powdery blackberries, dewberries spoil quickly. Eat them as soon as can after picking.
Gooseberry, Damsons and Sloe
Red, yellow or green gooseberries can be made into jam or put into pies and puddings. Damsons are purplish fruits about the size of a large grape and taste something like plums. They're used in desserts, jams and wines. The fruit of blackthorn trees, sloe are a blue-black in colour and extremely tart. They can be made into preserves and infused in gin to produce sloe gin.
- Red, yellow or green gooseberries can be made into jam or put into pies and puddings.
- They can be made into preserves and infused in gin to produce sloe gin.
Eaten by the Vikings and prevalent throughout Europe as well as North America, lingonberries grow on low bushes in full sun. They're red or purple and work in any berry recipe.
Cranberries, Elderberries and Aronia
The American cranberry bush is a tall plant, quite unlike the low cranberry plants that grow in bogs and are commonly available in stores. Like other cranberries, the fruit is tart. A dark-blue fruit, elderberries grows in large clusters on plants up to 10 feet tall. Aronia berries are black or red. Their tart flavour is used in jam. They grow in full to partial shade on tall shrubs.
- The American cranberry bush is a tall plant, quite unlike the low cranberry plants that grow in bogs and are commonly available in stores.
- A dark-blue fruit, elderberries grows in large clusters on plants up to 10 feet tall.
Wild Rose/Rose Hip and Hawthorn
Wild rose or rose hip are bright red, oval-shaped berries, rich in vitamin C, acidic and slightly sweet. Hawthorn plants have red berries with a large seed and white flesh. They're mildly sweet and can have an aftertaste, but are suitable for making preserves.
Rowan/Mountain Ash and Guelder Rose
Common to the British Isles, rowan or mountain ash trees grow clusters of large, orange-red berries that are high in Vitamin C. They're not very tasty, but they're edible. In Wales, they're used to make an alcoholic drink called diodgriafel. Once used to make cough syrup, Guelder rose's reddish berries must be cooked before they're eaten. The shrubs grow in damp areas and have a maple-shaped leaf.