Rubus flagellaris  

Mama called them Dewberries, and so do I. I can remember, when I was a child, we would go out and look for Dewberries because they were delicious…………….

Dewberries are everywhere for the taking, but there is a price.

Mother Nature is wonderful this time of year. She provides a lush green landscape and beautiful flowers for us to enjoy. She also puts Dewberries everywhere. I can’t wait for this time of year because I love those juicy sweet berries. I love them with whipped cream, on Ice Cream, or in a cobbler, or eaten before I even get home. I start looking on the side of the roads near my house in early spring to see where they are popping up. They are easy to spot as they are some of the first vegetation to start growing. Once you have some spotted, you just wait for them to ripen, I mean, how hard can it be? Well…….

If you are going to pick, you better be prepared.

It seems easy, this berry-picking thing, but there are a few things you should know!

  1. Dew Berries are thorny bushes. Their job is to keep things from sealing their fruit. They will grab you and poke and scratch you. The dewberry bushes which were easy to spot in early spring are now overgrown by other plants. It may be necessary to chop some vegetation to find that delectable fruit. It is best to wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. I also carry a machete to cut down overgrown vegetation. You better know what Poison Ivy looks like, or you will pay dearly for your free berries.
  2. You like berries, but remember a lot of things like berries. Mice, Rats, Racoons, Possums, and in some areas, Bears!! Berries also attract a lot of insects. Be prepared to run into competition when picking berries. If Mice like berries, you know snakes are not far behind. Keep that machete handy.
  3. Chiggers and Mosquitos! Enough said.
  4. Dewberries ripen over a period of a few weeks. Some patches you come across will be mostly ripe, while others will be green or red. I went berry picking today on FM 1969 along the road. The berries were only about 25% ripe. The good news is that I can hit that area again next week and gather more berries. I did gather 2 and a half cups in a short time.
  5. When you get a mess and get home, make sure you rinse your berries. You will be surprised how many little spiders and worms are on them. I soak mine in water to bring those little buggers to the surface. If you miss a few, it is OK, they taste just like berries.

Now that I have put doubt in your mind, I am sure you are asking yourself, Is it worth it? Very much so. It gets you out of the house and into nature when the weather is good and spring is in its full glory. It is a great activity to do with your family and friends and you get to eat your delicious bounty. Dewberries make great cobblers, jellies and jams, tarts or muffins. If you have never gathered berries, I would highly recommend it. The time is now. See you in the bushes!

Dewberry Cobbler Recipe

Dewberry Dumplin Recipe

Dewberry Tarts Recipe

 

Enjoy!