Berries are the delicious and often fragile fruits that grow on vines, bushes, and runners. They have many virtues--they're colorful, easy to prepare, good for you, and so delicious that you can serve them for dessert all by themselves. The only downside is that they're often pricey, since it's a Herculean challenge to get them to market before they spoil. Many don't make it, so check them over carefully for mold before putting them in your shopping cart. Berries don't ripen once they're picked, so the deeply colored ones tend to be the sweetest and most flavorful. When you get them home, store them in the refrigerator and use them as soon as possible. Don't wash them until you're ready to use them, and freeze any that you can't get to right away.
alkekengi See Cape gooseberry.
baby kiwifruit Notes: You can eat this tiny kiwifruit hybrid skin and all. Substitutes: grapes
bilberry = whortleberry = blaeberry = whinberry Notes: This small, tart berry is the European counterpart to the American blueberry. Bilberries are usually made into preserves. Pronunciation: BILL-beh-ree Substitutes: juneberries OR huckleberries OR cranberries (tarter than bilberries) OR blueberries (larger and sweeter) OR currants
blackberry = bramble Notes: These would be excellent berries were it not for their rather large seeds. They're still great for eating out of hand, but cooks often strain out the seeds when making pies and preserves. Select berries that are free of mold, and as black as possible. They arrive in markets in the summer. Substitutes: loganberry OR boysenberry OR mulberry (larger, more fragile) OR raspberry OR youngberry OR olallieberry OR dewberry OR red currant
black currant = cassis Pronunciation: KER-unt Notes: These are too tart to eat out of hand, but they're often used to make syrups, preserves, and the liqueur cassis. Frozen are a good substitute for fresh. Substitutes: elderberries OR blueberries OR red currants OR gooseberries
blaeberry See bilberry.
blueberry Equivalents: 1 pint = 3 cups Notes: Blueberries are small and sturdy, so they're perfect for tossing into cakes, muffins, cereal bowls, and fruit salads. Like other berries, they also make good preserves and tarts. Select firm, dark berries that have a whitish bloom on them. You can find fresh blueberries in the summer, but frozen blueberries are available year-round and work well in many recipes. They're very perishable, so keep them refrigerated and use them as soon as possible. You can also buy blueberries frozen, dried, or canned. Frozen berries get a little mushy after they're defrosted, but they'll work well in many recipes. Substitutes: huckleberry (larger seeds and tarter, otherwise very close substitute) OR juneberry OR red currant OR raisins (in baked goods) OR dates (in baked goods) OR bananas (in baked goods)
boysenberry Notes: A boysenberry is a cross between a blackberry, a raspberry, and a loganberry. It's more fragile than a blackberry, but it also lacks the blackberry's conspicuous seeds. Select boysenberries that are dark in color and free of mold. Substitutes: loganberry OR blackberry (This has larger, more noticeable seeds.) OR raspberry OR olallieberry OR dewberry OR youngberry
bramble See blackberry.
Cape gooseberry = Chinese lantern = physalis = golden gooseberry = alkekengi = strawberry tomato = ground cherry = husk tomato = golden berry = golden husk = poha Notes: Like its relative the tomatillo, the Cape gooseberry is covered with a papery husk. The fruit inside looks a bit like a yellow cherry, and tastes like a sweet tomato. You can eat Cape gooseberries whole, minus the husk, or use them to make very tasty preserves. They're hard to find in the United States; your best bet is a specialty produce market in the spring. Substitutes: tomatillos OR gooseberries OR cherry tomatoes
champagne grapes See Zante grapes.
Chinese gooseberry See kiwi fruit.
Chinese lantern See Cape gooseberry.
cloudberry Notes: Both the color and flavor of these Scandinavian berries pale in comparison to the raspberry. Substitutes: raspberries
cranberry = bounceberry Shopping hints: These tart berries are traditionally used to makes sauces and garnishes for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It's best to buy them at their peak in October and November, and freeze any that you don't use right away. Substitutes: lingonberry (smaller, better flavor) OR carissa (especially for jellies) OR rhubarb
currant Pronunciation: KER-unt Notes: These berries are too tart for most people to eat out of hand, but they make terrific preserves and garnishes. They come in three colors: red, white, and black. If color's not important, you can use them interchangeably in most recipes, though red and white currants aren't as tart as black. Don't confuse these berries with the dried fruit of the same name that looks like a small raisin. You can sometimes find fresh currants in specialty produce markets in the summer. If not, frozen currants are a good substitute. Substitutes: gooseberries OR raspberries
dewberry Notes: These are similar to blackberries, only they're smaller. Substitutes: youngberry OR blackberry OR raspberry OR loganberry OR boysenberry OR olallieberry
elderberry Equivalents: 1 cup = 145 grams Notes: These are too tart for most people to eat out of hand, but they make terrific preserves and wine. Substitutes: black currants OR cranberries
frais des bois = wild strawberry = wood strawberry Plural: fraises des bois Pronunciation: (singular) FRAY-day-BWAH (plural) FREHZ-day-BWAH Notes: These small, wild strawberries are either white or red, and have a very intense flavor. Substitutes: strawberries golden raspberry Notes: This is a blonder version of the red raspberry. Substitutes: raspberries
golden berry See Cape gooseberry.
golden gooseberry See Cape gooseberry.
golden husk See Cape gooseberry.
gooseberry Equivalents: 1 cup = 150 grams Notes: These large, tart berries are in season only in June and July, but canned gooseberries work well in pies and fools. American gooseberries are round and about 1/2 inch in diameter, while European gooseberries are oblong, and about twice the size of American gooseberries. They're very acidic, and so they're great with roasted meats, like goose. The freshest gooseberries are covered with fuzz. Substitutes: rhubarb (excellent in fools) OR kiwi fruit (These are much larger than gooseberries, but they're excellent in fools.) OR currants (preferably red currants)
grapes = table grapes Notes: Many varieties of grapes are turned into wine, vinegar, jelly, and raisins, but table grapes are for eating out of hand. They're classified by their color--red, green, and blue--and by whether they have seeds or not. Seedless varieties are popular because they're easy to eat, but often the seeded varieties offer more flavor and better value. Substitutes: kiwi fruit OR blueberries (in fruit salad)
ground cherry See Cape gooseberry.
huckleberry Notes: These are similar to blueberries, and they're great for making preserves and syrups. Some specialty markets carry them in the summer. Substitutes: blueberry (inconspicuous seeds and less tart, otherwise very close substitute) OR bilberries
husk tomato See Cape gooseberry.
jaboticaba Pronunciation: zhuh-BOO-ti-KAH-buh Notes: These resemble large, dark purple grapes, and they're very popular in Brazil. You can eat them like grapes, though you might want to first remove the seeds and thick skin. You can also make delicious jams, jellies, and wines from them. Substitutes: grapes
juneberry = saskatoon = serviceberry = shadberry Notes: These are very similar to blueberries. Substitutes: blueberry OR huckleberry
kiwi See kiwi fruit.
kiwi fruit = kiwi = kiwifruit = Chinese gooseberry = monkey peach = yang-tao Pronunciation: KEE-wee Notes: This small, oblong fruit is has fuzzy brown skin and beautiful green flesh dotted with edible black seeds. It tastes like a cross between gooseberries and strawberries. It's very versatile--you can eat it as a snack, blend it into sauces or sorbets, or peel and slice it as a garnish. It also contains an enzyme that tenderizes meat. Select kiwis that are hard, allowing them to ripen at room temperature for a few days. Substitutes: pitaya (very similar, but sweeter) OR gooseberry (much smaller berries) OR strawberry OR papaya (as meat tenderizer) OR pear (different flavor)
lingonberry Notes: These tart relatives of the cranberry grow only in cold climates. Substitutes: cranberry (larger, tarter, inferior flavor) OR red currants
loganberry Notes: These are like blackberries, only they're dark red when ripe and more acidic. They're especially good in pies and preserves. Substitutes: raspberry OR blackberry OR boysenberry OR olallieberry OR youngberry OR dewberry
marion berry Notes: After Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry was arrested for possessing cocaine in 1989, marion berry jam enjoyed brief popularity as a novelty item. Substitutes: blackberry (smaller)
monkey peach See kiwi fruit.
mulberry Notes: These are so fragile that almost no markets carry them. Substitutes: blackberry (smaller, not as fragile)
olallieberry = olallie berry Notes: This cross between a youngberry and a loganberry is black and fairly sweet. Substitutes: loganberry OR youngberry OR raspberry OR boysenberry OR dewberry OR blackberry
physalis See Cape gooseberry.
poha See Cape gooseberry.
raspberry Notes: It's a real challenge to get these hollow, fragile berries to consumers before they spoil, so you'll have to pay a high price for those that make it. Many don't, so check them carefully for mildew before you buy them. A good alternative is to buy them frozen. Substitutes: loganberry OR strawberry OR blackberry OR boysenberry OR olallieberry OR youngberry OR dewberry OR thimbleberry OR carissa (especially for preserves)
red currant Pronunciation: KER-unt Notes: With their brilliant coloring, red currants make terrific garnishes. They're also pleasantly tart, and often used to make jellies, syrups, and wine. Fresh ones are available in some markets during the summer, but frozen currants are acceptable substitutes for fresh in many recipes. Substitutes: blueberry OR black currant (for preserves) OR white currant (for eating raw) OR gooseberry (tarter) OR cranberry (as a garnish) OR blackberries OR red currant jelly (for sauces; sweeter than whole fruit)
saskatoon See juneberry.
serviceberry See juneberry.
shadberry See juneberry.
strawberry Notes: Strawberries aren't as fragile as other berries, so they don't need the special handling that makes most berries so expensive. The best time to buy them is in the spring, but you can find them throughout the year, though the price might be higher and the quality lower. Select berries that have fully ripened to a dark red. Substitutes: raspberry OR guava (especially for shortcakes) OR kiwi
strawberry tomato See Cape gooseberry.
sweet gooseberry Notes: These are similar to gooseberries, but they have a red blush and are much sweeter. Substitutes: gooseberries
tay berry Substitutes: blackberry
thimbleberry Substitutes: raspberry
whinberry See bilberry.
whortleberry See bilberry.
yang-tao See kiwi fruit.
youngberry Notes: This is closely related to the blackberry. Substitutes: blackberry OR olallieberry OR loganberry OR raspberry OR dewberry OR boysenberry
Copyright © 1996-2005 Lori Alden