This is the time of year that organic Autumn berries ripen and are ready for u-picking at Cloverfield Organic Farm. This is a berry that most people are not familiar with and they are not available in fresh markets. We have a few different named varieties that ripen as either yellow gold or brilliant red colored berries. The Autumn berries turn color and start out a bit astringent, but as they fully ripen and soften they mellow out to a sweet and tangy fruit that is reminiscent of cranberries. Kids especially love their sweet-n-sour flavor. What berries don't get u-picked are relished by birds and other wildlife.
One of the best ways to use Autumn berries is to just sprinkle some into a salad with either a mix of greens or an assortment of Summer fruits. The seeds are soft enough to eat along with the berries. Like most berries, Autumn berries are packed with nutrients and polyphenols. The red berries are especially rich in lycopene..
Autumn berries can be u-picked by tickling them off of their branches into provided pint containers that we supply. It might take one person about 45 minutes to collect 8 cups, or 4 pints, of the Autumn berries. If you don't have time to do this, we allow our u-pick customers to cut heavily-laden branches to do the collecting later at home.
One recipe where they really shine is Autumn Berry Barbeque Sauce::
4 Cups Autumn Berry Juice (from about 8 cups fresh berries)
4 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
4 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
4 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
4 Tbsp. Molasses
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
To puree fresh Autumn Berries, place them on the stove with a splash of water to stop them from sticking. Once they start to simmer, mash them to break them up just a bit. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until they have started to become tender. Run them through a food mill or blend and strain out the juice using a sieve or cheesecloth. Discard the seeds. You will need about twice as many berries to get 4 cups of juice, give or take depending on how hydrated and juicy the berries are.
Once you have the Autumn Berry Juice, place the juice in a large pot and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until all ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture is reduced by about half. The color will darken and the sauce will start to caramelize. Once it is to the consistency of your liking, use immediately or cool and place in jars. It will keep for 10 days in the refrigerator. Freeze any that you will not be using soon.
The Autumn berry barbeque sauce can be used as a dipping sauce for crackers or chips, or slathered over grilled or oven-baked meats.