It’s summer in Baltimore, which, for the last few years, has meant wineberries. The nonnative plant crops up everywhere — and can choke out other, native plant life.
But, they’re here — so we may as well enjoy them and their tart, sweet flavor, right? We solicited recipes from our readers, and are sharing some of our favorites here.
1. Wicked wineberry barbecue sauce
This recipe comes to use from Natasza Bock-Singleton, who occasionally gathers with friends to prepare “invasive feasts,” of foraged food that is not native to Maryland. This recipe uses other ingredients plucked from the wild, like mulberries and wild onion. The heat level can be adjusted by adding or removing fish pepper.
2 pints of wineberries
1 pint of white mulberries fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon dried garlic mustard leaves or 1 tablespoon fresh garlic mustard leaves
1 teaspoon dried wild onion (chopped) or 1 tablespoon fresh wild onion chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of powdered, dried Baltimore fish pepper
1 cup water
Prepare the berries. Rinse wineberries in cold water four times. Place wineberries in a large bowl, cover in cold water, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Let the berries soak for 15 minutes. Rinse the berries again four times. Repeat the procedure with the white mulberries. In a saucepan over medium heat — or in cast iron over medium coals — combine water, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add whole berries to the ketchup mixture. Simmer covered on low heat until berries are soft, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Add remaining ingredients to sauce mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat, allow the sauce to continue thickening for about 5 minutes before serving.
*Sauce is best when cooked over an open flame, but can be cooked indoors or on a hot plate.
2. Wineberry simple syrup and a wineberry Tom Collins
It’s really, well, simple, to add flavors to a simple syrup. A Tom Collins is a classic cocktail featuring lemon juice, gin and soda water. You can watch me make the simple syrup (and forage for wineberries) on our TikTok.
1 cup of fresh wineberries
¾ cup of water
1 cup of granulated sugar
Half a lemon
Combine the water, sugar and wineberries in a sturdy pot over medium heat. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice into the pot. Stir occasionally to help the sugar dissolve into the water and to prevent the syrup from burning to the bottom of the pot.
After about 10 minutes, remove the pot from the heat source and allow it to cool. Use a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids.
Ingredients for the cocktail
1½ ounces of gin
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ ounce wineberry simple syrup
Soda water, club soda or tonic water
Combine the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a tall glass filled with ice. Top it off with sparkling water to taste, and stir. Garnishing with a fresh wineberry or a lemon wedge is optional.
3. Wineberry cobbler
Reporter Liz Bowie shares this recipe that her husband adapted from Allrecipes. The original cobbler recipe called for black raspberries, but we think the wineberries give it a unique flavor that can’t be beat.
½ cup of melted butter
1¼ cups of white sugar
1 cup of all-purpose flour
¾ cup of milk
1½ teaspoons of baking powder
2½ cups of wineberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour melted butter into an 11-by-7-inch baking dish. Mix 1 cup sugar, flour, milk and baking powder together in a bowl. Pour on top of melted butter in the baking dish, making sure not to stir. Place wineberries on top of mixture, making sure not to stir. Top with remaining ¼ cup sugar. Then, bake in the preheated oven until the crust browns and sets, about 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Wineberry fool
This recipe comes to us from Old Line Plate, a blog where Kara Mae Harris explores historic Maryland recipes. Because wineberries are not native to Maryland, she created this recipe by adapting an existing one that featured other berries from a collection of recipes called “Maryland’s Way: The Hammond-Harwood House Cook Book.”
2 cups of wineberries or other berry
½ cup of sugar
½ pint of whipping cream
Clean and dry berries, add sugar and let stand to extract juice. Mash berries slightly, put in a pot and bring slowly to a boil. Cook until soft, strain through a sieve and chill. When the juice is cold, whip the cream and add the fruit to it. Refrigerate or freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
5. Fizzy wineberry shrub
This is another recipe that’s adapted in Old Line Plate, again from the “Maryland’s Way” cookbook. Shrubs can be added to cocktails or other drinks, or diluted with water and enjoyed on their own.
1 pint of vinegar
2 quarts of wineberries, blackberries or strawberries
2½ pounds of sugar
Take 1 quart of vinegar and pour over 2 quarts of mashed wineberries. Let stand for 24 hours, then strain and pour over 2 quarts more mashed berries. Strain after 24 more hours. Measure 1 pound of sugar to each pint of juice and boil 20 minutes, then bottle.
To serve, fill tall glasses with crushed ice, pour in shrub syrup to taste and soda water. Or, add the shrub to a cocktail or other drink.
6. Wineberry muffins
This recipe comes to us from Rachel Rappaport, the author of the Coconut & Lime recipes and cooking tips blog, as well as several cookbooks. Rappaport said she does not have any photos of the finished product, but that they end up developing a pinkish, kind of purple-y color that is “a little bit cuter than a blueberry muffin.”
2 cups of flour
¾ cup of sugar
½ tablespoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
¼ cup of canola oil
1 cup plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
Zest of one lime
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fresh wineberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line or grease and flour 12 wells of a standard muffin tin. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In second large bowl, whisk together ginger, oil, yogurt, zest, egg and vanilla until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until a uniform batter forms. Fold in wineberries.
Divide the batter evenly between the wells in the prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Yields 12 muffins.
7. Wineberry kuchen
The German word for cake, a kuchen is a classic dessert that can be adapted with different recipes. Katie O’Hara of Southeast Baltimore shared this recipe with us after picking more than 2 pounds of wineberries.
Ingredients (for the crust)
1 cup of flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
½ cup of butter
1 tablespoon of vinegar
Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine 1 cup of flour, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Work in ½ cup of butter. Mix in 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Spread mixture on bottom of a 9-by-9-inch glass pan to a depth of ¼ inch, and thinly around the sides to a height of 1 inch. Bake for 10 minutes.
Ingredients (for the filling)
1 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of wineberries
Combine 1 cup of sugar (or use ¾ cup for sweeter fruit), 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 cups of wineberries. Pour into the crust. Bake for another 50 minutes. Add time if the fruit is too watery. Optional: put 1 cup of raw berries on top. Allow to cool and then dust with sugar.
Charles Cohen contributed to this story.