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Useful Invasives: Wineberry

Yes! You heard that right, your beloved roadside pick is an invasive species, but a delicious one! Native to Asia, wineberries are escaped cultivars of breeding stock for US raspberries. I think we can all be thankful. And, you'll be happy to know that besides being an absolutely delicious way to convince people that foraging is rewarding, they're also incredibly beneficial to your body.

Wineberries are excellent anti-inflammatory snacks. They have high amounts of vitamin A and C, which boosts the immune system and promotes overall wellness. Commonly, wineberries are used to support weight loss, due to the presence of ketones in the berries.

Wine made from the berries is often referred to as the "Elixir of Life," due to the high antioxidant levels. If you're not a big fan of alcohol, I suggest making that wine into a deliciously light vinegar to use in salad dressings. The berry flavor is the perfect complement to most summer salads, and a welcome taste of warmer times in the winter.

Speaking of winter, Wineberries make amazing jam and pie filling, that when canned up in the heat of summer, make quick, easy, and useful little gem jars of joy for Yule gifts and Christmas pies. Any recipe you use for raspberry or blackberry jam and pie filling can be made with wineberry, without any adjustments.

If canning isn't your thing, blending the berries to spread in the dehydrator for fruit leather, or freezing them whole to add to smoothies are both great options. The frozen berries are also a fun addition to floral teas or just plain old water.

Once the berry crop has come and gone on your berry patch, you can prune the plants back significantly to no ill effect. Keeping these plants in one location can be tough, so be diligent in digging up escapees. Happy harvesting!

If you found this information useful, and want to donate a tip to help me continue to publish informational articles on this subject, my virtual tip jar is located on Venmo, @rainbowrockfarmstead Thank you so much! With love, Emily.

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