I am always on the hunt. Looking for the new and unusual to play with and further expand my culinary vocabulary. As I am apt to say when asked what is my favorite dish to make, “that which I have never seen before.” Immediately into my sac it will go and hopefully along with some basic knowledge. Though if I am not in a farmer’s market, and don’t have the person growing the food and feeding their family to exchange ideas with, I will rush home and start my research.
So, it just happened the other weekend while in the Pacific Northwest – I was in the small Sunday market on Mercer Island a vibrant family oriented community – the face painters’ stall sits adjacent to a redolent splay of peaches. A trio of musicians in floppy, Renaissance hats engages the wide-eyed, hip-rocking toddlers that stop dead as their parents try to grab a head of lettuce while keeping their eyes affixed on their tykes. For what is for me, a small stretch vendors, there laid something I had never seen before. At a tertiary glance I thought I had seen another raspberry, or perhaps it was an early blackberry. But, no, it was a tayberry. It is always an exciting day when I get to learn of a new foodstuff, and this new berry is the result of breeding the blackberry and raspberry together by Scottish agricultural researchers back in the early 1960’s. For almost five decades this hybrid berry has laid hidden from the greedy hands that are mine.
Its flavor is truly representative of the confluence of its pairing. It is denser in flavor than one of its components, raspberry and does not have the distribution of seeds like the blackberry. In color, the tayberry should be an intense sanguine with a shape that is reminiscent of a tapered, trimmed down blackberry. Like its parents the tayberry does not sit well on the counter – stored in the refrigerator you’ll get a few days, but frozen you’ll be popping these newly discovered gems into your mouth all winter. I look forward to securing a larger haul and making a batch of jam. Now, that they are on my radar there will be no hiding.
Rosy Lemonade – yields approx. 3 quarts
2 quarts water
7 lemons – juiced (approx.1-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice)
1/2-cup fresh orange juice
1 pint raspberries, strawberries, or tayberries – pureed and strained
1-tablespoon rose water
In a 2-quart saucepan bring 1 quart of water plus the sugar to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining quart of water. Allow the sugar water to cool completely.
Add the lemon and orange juices, raspberry puree and rose water into the sugar water and stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator to cool, and serve over ice.