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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 187
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Now it is time to eat those berries

OK, I know this isn’t a cooking column, this is a gardening column.  But what do you do with all this produce when it gets picked in such abundance? 

We grow black raspberries (aka blackcaps) which the locals call 
  
Victoria torley
mora.

Unfortunately, the locals also call mulberries and blackberries mora so, unless you can actually see the bush or tree, you don’t really know what they are talking about.

Mulberries grow on a tree, and the tree has no thorns which is

very convenient.  My problem is that I don’t really care for mulberries,
so I have to deal with thorns.  So, how do you tell your mora (blackberry) from your mora (black raspberry)?  The difference is that blackberries have a torus, a central attachment point that extends up into the fruiting body. With blackberries, the torus goes with the berry when it is picked.  With black raspberries, the torus is left behind when the berry is picked.   Since the torus has no berry flavor, I prefer the black raspberries. My other problem?  I only have two bushes that produce well (the others are newly transplanted), so my maximum yield has been about one cup a day.  Fortunately, there is a long harvesting season (May and June were great) so I could freeze my handful of berries daily until I had enough to make a pie.

Why a pie?  We miss blueberry pie and black raspberry pie is a fine replacement.  So, make pastry for a two-crust, 9-inch pie. Mix:

   5 cups black raspberries (if you use frozen berries, do not defrost before mixing)
   1 ¼ cups sugar
   ½ cup flour
   ½ teaspoon cinnamon
   2 tablespoons butter cut into chunks
   Bake at 425 for 38-40 minutes

Now they always tell you not to cut a slice right away, but who cares what they say, it’s your pie!  Cut it hot and let the juices bubble as they may.

And now, a substitute for apple pie (mainly because I have already messed up the garden column with one recipe, why not two?).

Green mango pie, properly prepared, tastes somewhere between apple and peach.  And, oh my, is it good!  The mangoes must not be ripe!  Ripe mangoes in a pie will be soft yet stringy.  Look for mangoes with some color. Green” refers to the interior, not the skin. But make sure they are not soft.  Then, make pastry for a two-crust, 9-inch pie.

Peel mangoes and slice as for peach or apple pie Mix:

   6 cups sliced mango
   1 cup sugar (or a bit more depending on taste) 
   ½ cup flour
   ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
   1 ½ tablespoons lemon (or lime) juice
   2 tablespoons butter cut into chunks

   Bake at 425 for 35-40 minutes

Plant of the Day

The black raspberry grows extremely well in the Arenal area, but it likes afternoon shade and will produce less fruit in full sun.  Leaf-cutter ant resistant but, late in the season, the fruit does suffer from a tiny wasp that lays its eggs in the berries.  Here you see ripe and unripe fruit and some areas where berries were already harvested – for pie.

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And,
blackcaps
for more garden tips, visit The Arenal Gardeners Facebook page.



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Fish fabulous Costa Rica


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