The Cottage Smallholder

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Can you unlock the Park Berry Mystery?

mystery berriesMildred left a comment on the post “Can you identify this fruit” asking if anyone could identify a fruit that she had found in her local park.

“My query, if anyone can help, is about a tree in the local playing field. They are similar to the photo at the top of the page but smaller, only about 15mm, and round. They are red. The inside looks the same too. They seem to be growing in clusters like elderberries grow – not at all like the crab apples on my friend’s tree!

At present only a few have turned red, the rest are still green. I wonder if they are likely to ripen now the days are drawing in. I would be very grateful for any help identifying them please :)”

Our copy of Richard Mabey’s Food for Free has inconveniently vanished. We have the bigger pocket edition that is great when you are out foraging but seems to get lost easily in the house.

I thought that they sounded like crab apples, until she sent me the photo above. I am now intrigued too.

Any help would be appreciated.

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  1. I’ve just tried making whitebeam jelly for the first time, with fresh, but frost-bletted, fruit (glad I didn’t waste crab apples in the mix). The cloudy liquid [cloudy even if you leave it to drip and don’t squeeze the bag] becomes clear when you heat it up and add sugar, and then start boiling up.

    Goes a gorgeous, clear ruby red.
    Nice smell, good initial flavour, but tongue-shrivelling aftertaste.

    They are good for making wine with, though. But you need to freeze the fruit first.

    Another thing not to do with fresh whitebeam is steep it in brandy to make a calvados substitute (hehe). Likewise vile, and took several years to become drinkable.

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