Thimbleberry (Rubus odoratus)
There are three fruit generally called thimbleberry in North America.
- The red-fruited thimbleberry (Rubus odoratus), a cousin of the raspberry often called the flowering raspberry, is native throughout much of the northern and eastern United States. It forms erect shrubs 4-7 feet tall with large, soft, palmately veined leaves. Large white, rose or purplish flowers bloom in May and a scarlet-to-orange, thimble-shaped, raspberry-type, sweet fruit appears in July.
- The orange-fruited thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), another cousin of the raspberry and sometimes confused with the salmonberry, is a white-flowered native to the western United States, British Columbia, and northern Mexico.
- The black-fruited thimbleberry (Rubus occidentalis), cousin to the black raspberry and often mistakenly called the blackcap raspberry, is native to the eastern United States and north of the Great Lakes.
All three of these berries possess a delicate flavor make a very decent wine.
- 4-8 lbs ripe thimbleberries
- 1-1/2 to 2 lbs granulated sugar (use hydrometer)
- 1/2 to 1 tsp acid blend
- 1/2 to 1 tsp pectic enzyme
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp tannin
- 6-1/2 to 7-1/4 pints boiling water
- 1 crushed Campden tablet
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- wine yeast
Use only sound, ripe berries, washed and destemmed. The amount of berries used will influence the flavor of the finished wine. Crush berries and put all ingredients except yeast in primary. Pour boiling water over ingredients and stir well to dissolve sugar. If using 4 pounds of fruit, more water, acid blend and tannin will be required; if using 8 pounds of fruit, use less of these ingredients. Use less pectic enzyme for less berries, more for more berries. Cover with plastic wrap until cooled to 70-75 degrees F. Add yeast, recover, and stir daily 5-6 days. Strain out fruit pulp and press to extract juice. Transfer to secondary, top up, fit airlock, and set in dark, cooler (60-65 degrees F.) place. Rack in 3 weeks and again in 3 months. Rack again 3 months later, stabilize, sweeten to taste if desired, and set aside 1 month before bottling. Store in dark place to preserve color. Age 3-6 months before tasting. Will continue to improve with further aging. [Author's own recipe]
Last update was July 18th, 2002.
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