Berry season is upon us! Thimbleberries are a great trailside treat – the red berries are so delicate that picking a large quantity can be hard. But that delicacy is also what makes them so fun to eat. To me they taste like a little dollop of jam, served up right there on the bush. The fruit just dissolves in your mouth like it was already cooked.
Thimbleberries are distinguished by their large, soft, maple-shaped leaves. In the spring they sport large white flowers: many stamens gather around a yellow center. By early summer their bright red raspberry-like fruits have begun to ripen. You can find them in most parts of California, from the Sierras to the sea, and also across much of North America.
Thimbleberries (Rubus parviflorus) are in the Rosaceae family, and are closely related to blackberries, raspberries and salmonberries – all of which are in the Rubus genus as well. What a tasty clan!