A quick trip down to Columbia City farmer’s market yesterday means I am loaded up with berries (and some other goodies, like some local apricots, mini globe courgettes, and a gorgeous bunch of sweet peas). I got a mixed 1/2 flat, which came with six different kinds of berries, including a berry that was new to me, the Tayberry. I had to pop online to look up this new fruit, because unlike courgettes which was simply a new name for a known veg (zucchini), I had really never tried a Tayberry before.
And then I learned a strange fact. If you think something is a berry, it’s probably not, in the true botanical definition. A berry is supposed to be a thin-skinned fleshy fruit which is entirely edible and contains seeds. Things like grapes, tomatoes, and persimmons. And so while blueberries and gooseberries are botanical berries, most other common berries like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and these new-to-me tayberries are, in fact, not. I’m glad I’m a foodgeek rather than a botanist. I’m going to keep calling the small, sweet, juicy fruits berries.
Anyway, back to the Tayberry. On first glance, I’d pass them over as under-ripe blackberries. Slightly reddish purple, these plump dewberries are basically a cross between raspberries and blackberries… along the same lines as a Boysenberry or a Loganberry. They have a little extra kick… almost like that of a currant (a true berry!) muddled in with a creamy sweetness. Tayberries aren’t too overly sweet, and keep their tartness even when quite ripe. Just right for a beautiful deep magenta sherbet.
If you can’t get Tayberries in your area, you can always substitute half blackberries and half raspberries for a very similar color and flavor.
1/2 pint Tayberries
1 t lemon juice
1 T honey
1/2 cup whole milk
After carefully washing the berries, removing any stems, heat over medium in a heavy bottomed pot with the lemon juice and honey until the berries break down, about 5 minutes. Push the berry mixture through a sieve into a bowl to remove any seeds. Then, stir in the milk until well combined (note: if you want a creamier sherbet, you can use a bit more milk or a touch of cream).
Pour into an Ice Cream Maker, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
PS: This sherbet is really yummy smeared between two chocolate cookies…