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boysenberryWhat is a Boysenberry?

This reddish purple berry is a hybrid made from three berries; a loganberry / blackberry / raspberry.  A popular fruit in New Zealand, it is becoming more common as an ingredient in many products such as yogurts and drinks.

Loganberry A blackberry / raspberry hybrid developed by JH Logan in the late 19th century, California.  It came to Britain around 1900.

A boysenberry is a type of glossy, large, juicy berry related to the North American blackberry. In addition to being eaten fresh during the brief growing season, boysenberries are also incorporated into jams, preserves, and syrups. Their flavor is somewhat reminiscent of a raspberry, with a more tart undertone, especially when the berries are not fully ripened. They are available from grocery stores and farmers’ markets, but since boysenberries are not very stable off the vine, it is important to eat them within two or three days of purchase.

The inventor of the boysenberry is believed to Rudolph Boysen, who experimented with various berry crosses in Napa, California in the 1920s. In 1923, his cross of a blackberry, loganberry, and raspberry successfully grew and bore fruit. The boysenberry was acquired by Walter Knott, a Southern California berry farmer, who started selling the fruit commercially in 1935. Boysenberries and boysenberry preserves helped to make Knott’s business famous around the state.

To grow boysenberries at home, find a patch of land which receives full sun and minimal wind. Till the soil thoroughly, working in plenty of compost and mulch. Plant boysenberry vines approximately three feet (one meter) apart in the late spring in USZA zones 5 and colder, and late fall in zones 6 and warmer. Install trellises for the trailing vines to grow on so that they will be pulled up off the ground, making the boysenberries easier to harvest and less likely to rot. Typically, the boysenberry vines will bear fruit in May, after which they should be cut down close to the ground to encourage fresh shoots, which will bear berries again the next year. You should water the boysenberry plants thoroughly after cutting them back, and retrain the vines as they grow up.

The distinctly tart flavor of a fresh boysenberry makes them very popular in areas where they can be obtained. When selecting boysenberries to take home, look for evenly sized and colored specimens with no areas of mushiness. Keep the berries under refrigeration in a watertight container far from apples and bananas, which emit ethylene gas, and use them within three days. If the berries are not going to be used in time, you may want to consider using them to make jam. Boysenberries can be scattered fresh on pancakes and waffles, used as a pie filling, or added as a decorative accent to cheesecakes and tarts. They can also, of course, simply be eaten plain, or as part of a fruit salad.

excerpts from conjecture corporation

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