What Are Boysenberries?
You know the berries blue and black, but do you know boysen?
You usually know summer is here when your favorite berries start cropping up at the farmers' market. Some berries do OK traveling from farm to distribution center to supermarket, and can be found in the produce aisle of your local grocery stores.
But others, such as boysenberries, are easier to find when purchased directly from farmers or on farms that allow you to pick your own. That's because boysenberries are a fragile berry that need to avoid a lot of handling and are best eaten off the bramble or soon after purchasing. Because of this, you might not be as familiar with boysenberries as other berry varieties, but they're well worth seeking out when in season.
Where Did Boysenberries Come From?
Boysenberries are a combination of different types of berries, including the loganberry, dewberry, raspberry, and blackberry. However, it's often described and referred to as a hybrid between blackberries and raspberries. Since they are a hybrid of other berries, this means they were created instead of being a berry that grows in the wild and was later domesticated or cultivated.
The story of how this berry came to be begins with a gardener, Rudolf Boysen from Sweden, who lived in northern California. Boysen enjoyed tinkering with flowers and berries and experimenting with new varieties. Boysen was introduced to Walter Knott, of Knott's Berry Farm, jam, and theme park fame, who had a berry farm in southern California. The berry was named after Rudolf Boysen, and Knott is considered to be the one who helped bring attention to this cultivar and make it more commercially available to other farmers and gardeners.
What Do Boysenberries Taste Like?
Boysenberries are likely to conjure up a mix of both blackberry and raspberry flavors since they're predominately a combination of these well-known varieties. Typically, boysenberries are plump and juicy, with the same tartness that makes your lips pucker when you eat a blackberry, but met with the sweetness of a raspberry.
When Are Boysenberries in Season?
Boysenberries are abundant in the summer, and they typically begin to grace farmers' markets as early as late May or early June and continue through the hot months.
Where Do Boysenberries Grow?
Boysenberries grow well in warmer climates, and the fruit is ready for harvest in the summer. The state of California is a big producer with many small-scale farmers cultivating these plump berries and selling them direct to customers, as well as larger-scale farms growing them for other uses, such as frozen berries, jams, and syrups. The country of New Zealand is also a hub for growing these delectable berries and selling and shipping them internationally.
How to Store Boysenberries
Boysenberries are delicious, and it can be hard to resist not eating the entire container before arriving home. That may be a good thing, considering they are best eaten as soon as you get your hands on them, but if some boysenberries do make it home, here's what to know:
Boysenberries will last around a week in the fridge. Otherwise, consider freezing them so you can cook or bake with them at a later time.
One of the best ways to freeze them is to lay them out on a baking sheet and give each berry their space to avoid the berries sticking together. Once frozen, you can put them in a sealed plastic bag or a plastic or glass container that is suitable for cold temperatures and long-term storage.
Ways to Use Boysenberries
Boysenberries lend themselves to a variety of baked goods and desserts, such as pie, crumbles, crisps, cobblers, and cakes. They are also fabulous as a jam, as a syrup to drizzle on pancakes or waffles, or added to yogurt or ice cream. You can also mix them into smoothies or a fruit salad.