We’re deep into raspberry season here at 1840 Farm. Every day for the past few weeks, we have found ourselves out in the raspberry patch reaching into the brambles to pluck the ripe berries and tenderly place them in their berry baskets. It’s not a farm chore without its hazards. In fact, my arms look like I’ve found myself on the losing end of a battle with a porcupine.
The scrapes and thorns can’t deter me from picking all the berries our patch will provide. The real trick is in using every single berry that gets picked. This seemingly simple task can become a chore of its own.
Some of our berries will be turned into jam that will provide a much-needed pick me up once winter has taken us in its firm grip yet again. Pounds of berries will be frozen and kept for future baking projects. Right now, at their peak, a lot of berries will go directly from the bramble to our mouths. You might call it berry patch collateral damage, but I call it a just reward for another year of hard work in the garden.
The raspberries are enjoying elite status at 1840 Farm right now. June’s strawberry season has come and gone and the blueberries are still several weeks away from harvest. This is the time to celebrate our raspberries. We have already picked over 12 pounds of fruit and yet the canes are still covered in ripening berries. I see many more raspberry pies, tarts, and jelly jars full of jam in our future.
We all look forward to raspberry pie this time of the year, but with all this time spent picking berries, it can be a real struggle to find the time to make a pie. True, we have already enjoyed one double crusted beauty of a raspberry pie, but the berries are coming into the farmhouse faster than I can grab my rolling pin. Yes, it’s a wonderful dilemma to find myself in, but still, what to do with all of these beautiful, ripe berries?
I found myself yesterday finishing my morning cup of Sweet Maria’s Moka Kadir Blend and looking over my recipe collection. I had several raspberry recipes for tarts, pies, and even cakes, but nothing was calling to me. There was only one thing to do: invent something that would call to my whole family.
I married two of our favorite recipes in the hopes of yielding a dish that would combine the texture and taste of our beloved raspberry pie filling wrapped in a brown sugar crumble. I slid it into the oven and hoped that I had balanced the sweetness of the crumble with the tart acidity of our hand-picked berries. It smelled lovely as it baked, but the proof is always in the tasting. Waiting forty minutes to have the first taste seemed almost unbearable.
That was until I had the first bite and watched my daughter’s face as she took hers. It was exactly what I had hoped for: slightly sweet, slightly tangy with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. A warm square topped with vanilla ice cream was otherworldly. It wasn’t a double crusted pie, but it was prepped, baked, and cooling on the counter in under an hour. This was a winner.
Right now, I’m off to pick the day’s berries. I know that I will find myself loaded down with baskets of fruit this morning. I also know that the cuts and scrapes will increase dramatically by the time I have harvested all that our canes have to offer.
I’ll wear the scrapes as a badge of gardening success. Only another person who has collected raspberries from their thorny canes could appreciate my willingness to tangle with our raspberry patch every day. I don’t mind. I’ve got nothing to hide. I’m proud of our raspberry harvest here at the farm this year and I’ll tell anyone who wants to hear about it. It’s raspberry season here at 1840 Farm and I have the scars to prove it.
Raspberry Crumble Bars
makes 18 bars
8 ounces raspberries
72 grams(6 Tablespoons) sugar
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon tapioca
1 1/2 cups King Arthur White Wheat Flour
120 grams (3/4 cup) brown sugar, unpacked
80 grams (1 cup) old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces butter, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In medium bowl, combine raspberries, sugar, and water. If using frozen berries, warm mixture in microwave for 1-2 minutes. Add cornstarch and tapioca and stir to combine. Set aside as the crumble mixture is prepared.
Combine flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cubed butter in the bowl of a food processor. Process briefly until the texture resembles a coarse meal, approximately 15 – 30 seconds. Add vanilla extract and pulse just until dough comes together.
Transfer half of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Press the mixture lightly to form a crust that completely covers the bottom the pan. Stir the raspberry mixture and pour over the crust, spreading to cover evenly. Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture evenly over the berry filling.
Bake the crumble in the preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes until the topping has browned lightly and the raspberry filling has thickened. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
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