Wild berries are naturally sweet and juicy, full of antioxidants, and much more versatile than we’ve been led to believe. Look beyond the jelly recipe inside the Certo box that calls for 6 cups of berries and 8 cups of sugar. There are so many more things that you can make with wild berries than jam or jelly. Try some of these ideas and expand your repertoire. You’ll fill your larder with more healthy choices and enjoy these wild fruits all winter long.
When I was a child family picnics meant berry picking. Vancouver, where I grew up, is surrounded by wild black berry thickets, buzzing with wasps, fragrant with berry juice. A picnic near the beach meant blackberries within a short hike. The sand castle pail was quickly turned into a berry picking pail if there were ripe berries nearby. The dry interior of British Columbia has its own abundance of wild berries. Mr. Joybilee has memories of huckleberry picking in the mountains when he was younger. You probably have similar memories of picking (and eating) wild berries and small fruit on warm August or September afternoons. For my mom, a bucket of blackberries was paired with a package of commercial pectin and a measured amount of sugar to ensure the jam would set.
Alternatively that bucket of wild berries would be packaged and placed in the freezer until there was either more berries or more time. I’ve been guilty of pulling the plastic bag of choke cherries out of the freezer after several years and tossing it in the compost for the chickens. A person can only use so much jam.
That’s why I pulled together this list of 42 things you can make with wild berries or small fruit that AREN’T jam or jelly. It’s a terrible thing to waste those healthy antioxidants and your time. And honestly jam might not even be the best use of many wild berries. Try some of these ideas for other things you can make with wild fruit. Hopefully seeing my list will stimulate your creative thinking. You might even come up with another 42 things that aren’t on my list. If you do, share your ideas too, in the comments. That way no one will have to waste a gorgeous harvest of wild berries because they didn’t need any more jam.
Use the fresh wild berries
- Make infused vinegar or make a shrub
- Use them as a base for barbeque sauce
- Infuse them in alcohol and make a liqueur
- Make a cordial
- Cook them down and strain them and make a fruit ketchup
- Add them to fruit compote
- Mix the pulp with apple sauce and add them to fruit leather
- Toss them into a salad
- Add wild berries to fruit salad
- Add them to fresh salsa
- Add them to a curry dish
- Make a fruit chutney
- Add fresh wild berries to horseradish
- Use as a base for sweet and sour sauce
- Infuse in water to make vitamin water
- Freeze berries in ice cubes and add to punch
- Use strongly colored wild berries to eco-print on silk or wool
Use the juice from wild berries
- Juice them and bottle the juice
- Make mead
- Make wine
- Ferment and make vinegar
- Use the juice to make fruit jellies
- Make a fruit mustard
- Use the juice for homemade gelatin
- Make syrup
- Use the juice as a base for toffee or hard candies
- Soak other dried fruit in the juice of wild berries to reconstitute
- Add the juice to sparkling water 25:75 ratio.
Use the dried wild berries
- Dry them and add them to tea blends
- Make an infused honey with the dried berries
- Add to pemmican
- Add to sausage
- Mix with mushrooms or black beans and make a veggie burger
- Add to quinoa or rice when cooking
- Add to rice pudding or bread pudding in place of raisins
- Include in muffins and other baked goods
- Add to oatmeal, muesli, or other breakfast cereal
- Powder and add to supplement powders
- Powder wild berries and mix the powder in Goo balls or Zoom balls with other powdered herbs
- Powder and add to chocolate truffles
- Powder and add to stronger flavored herbs when making a throat lozenge
- String with popcorn for a winter treat for the birds
Healthy Harvest Challenge: Day 2 — 45 Healthy Pumpkin and Winter Squash Recipes that aren’t Pie
What would you do with a basket full of wild berries?
Leave your ideas in a comment below.