Moving to Iowa has been an exciting experience from a culinary perspective. Hey, don’t laugh. Really. It’s not what I was expecting either. However, with the growing interest in farm-to-talble, local, sustainable, and CSA’s it’s no wonder that the heartland of America would be the place to find great ingredients, plentiful farmers markets, and exciting restaurants. What has been an even bigger surprise are the delicious indigenous ingredients that grow wild all through this area. First it was discovery of the ramp, and then in late spring and early summer came the black raspberry.
This little berry has a short window and just like the ramp you don’t want to miss it.
Don’t get confused. This is not a blackberry. Nor is it a raspberry. This little sweet berry is a sweet flavorful berry. They are fairly small but their flavor goes a long way. The first year we lived here we discovered they grow all over our property. At first I thought they were a nuisance but now discovering the joys of this little berry we are looking at how to better encourage patches of them to grow and put on fruit.
It wasn’t until I made Jeni’s Sweet Corn & Black Raspberry Ice Cream that I discovered just how great this berry was. For the ice cream you steep the sweet corn (another of Iowa’s delicious treats) in the milk mixture and then strain it out. Then after you have churned your ice cream you layer in the black raspberries as you fill you container. A little bit goes a long way and the berry with the corn is a surprising and well paired combination.
Now all I have to do is figure out how to keep the birds from getting to them before I do so I don’t have to keep buying them at the local farmers market!