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Farmer’s Table: Wineberry Coffee Cake

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By Susan Maslowski

Note: Credit for the photo of wineberries is attributed to William Pattison, who grew up in my hometown of Chester and now lives in North Carolina. He graciously gave permission to use his photo with this column. He captured the beautiful, jewel-like qualities of the berries.

This is the time of the year when wineberries appear at farmers markets. They are often misidentified as red raspberries.

Wineberries were introduced in the U.S. in the 1890s to improve the breeding stock of commercial berries. They are an Asian species of raspberry, native to China, Korea and Japan. They are considered an invasive plant and are now taking over wooded regions and other uncultivated areas. The canes form a dense thicket that cover wildlife habitat.

New plants can be started in several ways. Wineberries spread by suckers or seeds sown by animals and birds. When the stems touch the soil, they will produce new canes. To germinate from seeds, the seeds must be scarified and pass through the poop chutes of animals, before they can sprout.

Once established, wineberry plants are difficult to eradicate. Herbicides often take multiple applications to eliminate the plants.

Red raspberry canes produce flowers that eventually yield berries. When ripe, the berries pull away from the core. Wineberries form on small pods that eventually open up to reveal a jewel-like berry inside.

While many consider wineberry plants as unwanted invasives, there are those who think they have been maligned. They may have pushed some native plants out of the landscape, but there are positive attributes to note, too. They provide food for humans and wildlife, and they successfully control erosion. Deer, raccoons, box turtles and birds love wineberries.

The topic of wineberries can become as thorny as their canes, but they seem to be established and widespread in this area, making them difficult to control. Instead of spending time trying to eliminate the plants, take the time to pick the berries for a special summer treat.

Wineberry Coffee Cake

Cake:

2 cups flour

¾ cup sugar

2½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup sour cream

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1½ cup wineberries (fresh or frozen)

Topping:

1/3 cup flour

½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

½ teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons cold butter

In a large bowl, sift 2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add butter, sour cream and egg. Mix well. Fold in 1 cup of berries. Spread in a greased 8-x-8-x-2-inch pan.

Combine 1/3 cup flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and cold butter with pastry blender to form crumbs. Sprinkle over batter and top with rest of berries.

Bake in 375-degree oven for 30 minutes or until tests done. Serve warm.

For questions about recipes or other information, contact Susan Maslowski at mudriverpottery@aol.com or go to our websites at metrokanawha.com and putnamreview.com. Susan also has a Farmer’s Table Facebook page.


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