The small fruits
Often forgotten, or too neglected, the small fruits, or berries, do not find the place they would deserve in our orchards, orchards or gardens. They generally have small plants, which can be cultivated without problems even in a container, for a terrace full of delights; or they could be planted in the little corner that we left to the weeds, because we have not yet decided which plant is more suitable.
In this period we have the joy of enjoying blackberries, blueberries and currants, which we find more and more easily on the market: why not consider the possibility of preparing a vegetable garden or orchard corner for these plants?
In this way we will prepare to have our first harvest already next year, to amaze and cheer adults and children alike.
Wild berries are excellent if eaten raw, and also essential ingredients for the best jams; let's not forget, however, that these plants also find their place in herbal medicine, and some also in the pharmaceutical industry.
Small fruits: The forgotten fruits
In addition to the "classic" berries and their hybrids, there are many plants that produce edible berries, once consumed by our ancestors, both in Europe and in other continents; some of these plants still find a place in our gardens, but generally only animals feed on their fruits, which are often produced in large quantities. We recall a few:
-Amelanchier: also called pero corvino, it produces small apples, dark when ripe, they have a sweet taste, and a slightly powdery consistency.
-Biancospino: produces small reddish berries, used to prepare mainly jams, but also for liqueurs and soft-tasting drinks.
-Corbezzolo: from time immemorial consumed in our peninsula, the Romans called it unum edo, or I eat only one; for a long time the popular beliefs attributed this name to a hypothetical toxicity of the fruits, which were said to be consumed only in small quantities. In fact, the fruits of the strawberry tree are not toxic, but the Romans did not find them tasty enough to eat more than one. The strawberry trees are very tasty and sweet, they are used raw, or to prepare jams and jellies.
-Cornolo: also the cornus mas produces small red fruits, they have a sour taste, but they can be used for jams and sauces.
-Cotoneaster: like pyracanta it produces small red or orange fruits, edible, with a sweet taste; they were once consumed, when the tables were not laden with delicacies like today.
-Fitolacca: the dark fruits are used by the industry to produce food coloring, with them you can prepare jams and jellies.
-Rosa canina: still used today to prepare herbal teas, our grandmothers made an excellent jam of wild roses, with a sharp, very fragrant taste.
-Sambuco: the fruits of the elder are toxic if not perfectly ripe, they can be used, when completely ripe, in the preparation of jams with laxative properties.
-Sorbo: rowan berries are consumed mainly in jam, they can also be used in the preparation of liqueurs.
- Rate: the badger is a very poisonous plant, in all its parts; the only edible part is the pulp surrounding the seeds. Once they ate the fruits of the badger, avoiding chewing their dangerous seeds.