I harvested about half of the boysenberry crop the other day, leaving the other half for the wild bunny living in the open space behind our house, and for the hooded orioles nesting the the neighbor’s palm tree. The boysens this year are big and sweet, much better than previous years, though the crop is much smaller. There won’t be enough for jam this year, unfortunately, due to our bunny’s habit of snipping the new canes to the ground just as they begin to emerge. He’s just trying to be helpful.
I like to wash the berries immediately and then turn them hat-side down on paper towels, lining them up like little soldiers. The berries dry this way, and, once dry, are much easier to keep refrigerated for a couple of days at least, before they begin to leak and soften. I will put some in a Tupperware container and store them in the freezer for boysenberry buckle in the fall.
We’ve tried growing other berries in our garden without success. They either don’t grow at all, or the bunny eats them before they the canes can establish, or the boysenberries somehow cross-pollinate, turning what used to be blackberry canes into boysens. Can this be possible? Whatever cross-pollination experiments are going on in our backyard, we choose to leave alone and simply accept nature’s good fortune. We have become excellent boysenberry farmers largely due to our own laziness.
The LA Times published a great article on boysens recently, which said that a hybrid was now available in supermarkets. While I’m sure the new hybrid has a similar taste, I doubt that it can match the true “berry-ness” of the boysen. I think that boysenberries are much like the old Sequoia strawberry – best grown in the home garden, and eaten nearly immediately.