Brooklyn, NY. It took me a while before I realized that this little juicy treasure, which I wrote about in the Urban Forager recently, was lining the roadsides and trails of my favorite park. As with many things in foraging, once you can positively identify a plant or a fruit, and find the botanical a few times on your own (hopefully in different stages of development), you will know the plant forever. I’m happy to have this little gem in my repertoire.
Black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) a k a black cap, black cap raspberry, or thimbleberry, is a relative to the raspberry and like most wild fruit is smaller but more flavorful than the cultivated version. I’ve spent many a meditative hour slowly picking black raspberries from the brambles in friends’ yards, trying to avoid the thorns. I won’t bore you with the details of how I got seduced by the most perfect Rubus occidentalis fruit—a lovely black specimen surrounded by thorns which caught on my hand, sleeve, waist, and jeans—at a yoga retreat last summer, but let’s just say gathering black raspberries is an exercise in mindfulness.
I like black raspberry so much that I feature it in the banner of this website.
Tip: The blacker the black raspberry, the better the flavor and nutrient content. (See pic, below).