Wild berries in the summer are sure to be a delicious treat while on a hike.
I held out what I thought was a great hiking treat, but Luke backed away from me… skepticism in his face. “They’re good! “Have some!” I urged, stuffing some in my mouth.
We were in the Pocono Mountains, where Larry and I had taken our great nephew, Luke Springer, who was visiting from Australia. We wanted him to experience the amazing Appalachian Trail as it connects with the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey.
At the top of a 2 ½-mile climb—sometimes-steep, sometimes-rocky, but definitely rewarding—you can relax on sun-drenched boulders and gaze down at the Delaware River winding below.
Perfect spot to snack on wild blueberries, picked from bushes right on the trail. As I held a small, round blueberry out to Luke, I could see in his face, his natural politeness struggling with his skepticism for yet another curious scheme of his Aunt Carol’s. The diplomat won out over the skeptic. Luke ate it, and actually seemed to enjoy it.
To be truthful, Luke’s reaction wasn’t too different from that of some friends when I brought wild raspberries, just picked that morning, to a recent Bible Study. “Are they poisonous?” one asked laughing nervously. “Will they make me sick?” asked another.
A completely different reaction was that of Karin Hazzard, of Southampton, PA, whom I met recently while hiking at Tyler Park. She is obviously one of the lucky people who knows how scrumptious wild berries can be. In her hand, she held a small bucketful, and planned on making a pie with her daughter that afternoon!
Truth is, this time of year, if you meet me walking down a mountain trail or country road, you are likely to wonder what the heck happened to my shirt! It’s likely to be stained purple or red—because I will have scooped up the side of my shirttail to make a bowl and will have filled it with berries to take back home.
They’re delicious! Sweet, yet a bit tart. Eat them on cereal. With ice cream or yogurt. In fact, my favorite way of eating them is right on the trail…an early morning wake-up!
What kind of berries can you eat? Many kinds. In the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up, you find black caps, shaped like small, shallow raspberries. Red huckleberries and salmon berries are small, smooth and round, growing on user-friendly, non-thorny bushes. My favorite is the big, fat, sweet blackberries that come late in the summer.
Here in Pennsylvania, in addition to the small blackcaps, and red raspberries, there are pink salmon berries, coral thimbleberries, and blackberries just getting ripe now.
Give yourself a special treat! Take a walk and forage for a berry snack! Then write to me, letting me know which is your favorite kind of wild berry!
Feel free to email me your environmental tips and questions!