A little red berry with a versatility to be on its own, paired with the simplest of fruits,  or the most complex of alcohol to create magic in a jar. It’s timely appearance at the beginning of summer gives us a multitude of recipes from a slow and sweet jelly to a robust and spicy sauce.

The two hundred plus varieties are suitably named for the burst of taste they envelope in your mouth. Chandler, Benecia, and Mojave to name a few and the branches of the world in which they grow span across a multitude of countries.

While researching I came across an interesting hybrid of sorts. An “inside out” variety that bears a fruit small in size but is not attractive to its natural bird enemy. Those in this class have names such as Keoki and Albicarpa, which at first translation explain more about nature as earth worker and alpine. It’s internationally recognized and many may not know that this small beauty contains medicinal healing far reaching that of its competitors in the fruit genre.

It’s transformation in dehydration intensifies its sweetness while maintaining it’s unique shape. When dried it’s a natural candy to many, a welcome topping to cereal,  and gives new enlightenment to its creative uses.

It is truly loved by many, but allergic to a few.  Yet each day this red berry stands out amongst its rivals and gives pleasure for those who hold its sturdy stem and every so lightly dip its contents in chocolate and melt the hearts of women everywhere.

Thank you to all the farmers who work all season to bring this little red berry to my canning pot. I lovingly give it another transformation, ladling it gently into jars, and giving it a warm bath for safety. Mindful of keeping it in the safest and coolest of places till my need for its sweet luscious flavor comes over me again.