OK, so the secret is out! Early August marks the beginning of the bakeapple season in rural Newfoundland. It is a time that many head to the berry bogs in search of fields of orange. The laborious efforts to harvest these wild berries can easily fetch a premium for a gallon in the local marketplace. They are worth every penny, as they are time consuming and hard work.
I enjoy picking berries, enough for my cheesecake toppings and to make some jam and compote. My first effort with my uncle quickly yielded a quart, enough to top my bakeapple cinnamon bread pudding and to have some for a cheesecake.
My second effort was a little more adventurous with my sister and brother-in-law, as we had no idea where berries could be and people are very territorial or secretive of their bakeapple patches. We’ve heard there are no berries there or they are scraped or not yet ripe. We made three attempts to find berries and walked more than 7 kilometres. We were fortunate enough though to strike a good marsh and we basically picked 1.5 gallons combined. Once we found the berries it didn’t take us too long to fill our jugs a couple of times.
My last attempt for bakeapples this season was with my Aunt visiting from Alberta. We found a patch of berries. I think someone had already picked the big berry patch, but after walking 3.5 KM, we managed again another 1.5 gallons of berries.
It is quite rewarding when you can collect your own berries, fresh basically near your own home. They grow wild and have no pesticides, just the sweet natural taste and lots of syrup to make delicious jams and jellies. They get cleaned and frozen fresh, except the ones that either get eaten direct or those that are slowly simmering on the stove with a little sugar to help thicken for the compote!
I made a bread pudding and topped it with the bakeapple compote, added some whip and a little caramel sauce. It was quite a hit at the dinner table and didn’t last very long.
I also made a cheesecake, and we topped it with everyone’s favourite wildberry – bakeapple, patridgeberry or raspberry.
If you want to go bakeapple picking, you definitely need to find a good bog and take your rubber boots and beware of mud suckers! Take a beef pail, as they are the classic buckets for safely storing your berries.
Enjoy and happy berry picking!
Live Rural NL –