A few years ago, while shopping in my one of my favorite yarn stores in Denver, The Fancy Tiger, I came across a display of Baker Creek seed
Such a pretty old fashion package. I have a hard enough time resisting yarns, but I never meet a seed I didn't like. I found a packet called Wonderberry, an heirloom berry that was supposedly easy to grow and could be used in cooking in place of blueberries.
Now I have heard it rumored that there are people who can grow blueberries here in Denver at over 5000 feet of elevation with just slightly more rain then the Sahara desert, but I am not one of those people. I was willing to try a blueberry substitute. And I love the romantic idea of heirlooms.
The instructions said to start the seeds like tomatoes, so I did, and they were very easy. Because of my limited space, I planted only 2 plants, squeezed in between tomatoes. Those babies took off, they grew enormously, they had a small white flower the bees went nuts for and a dark shiny berry. While the fruit couldn't compare to a blueberry, it was pleasant enough and I love having fruit that we can pick and eat right from the vine, or in this case, plant.
I found some recipes for jams, syrups, and pies. I think they're a little runny for jam, but I liked this recipe for a Wonderberry ginger syrup, great over pancakes, I even served it over pork loin.
Since I had only a small batch I made it as a refrigerator syrup.
1 cup of Wonderberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon of lemon
dash of salt
Cool the berries, sugar, salt and ginger over medium heat for 10-12 minutes. Let cool, add lemon and place into sterilized jar.
*You must make certain not to eat the green berries as they are poisonous.
The best part of this plant is that it has reseeded it self over the last few years, although this year I see it is having a hard time competing with the raspberries that seem to be taking over everything.