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The Berry Bible    by Janie Hibler Amazon.com order for
Berry Bible
by Janie Hibler
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I've always loved berries. A real love affair. Strawberries, plain or with powdered sugar. Blueberries on cold cereal. Blackberries on vanilla bean ice cream. Gooseberry Jam. Lingonberry preserves on Swedish pancakes! To kill for. What is turkey without cranberries? Delicate raspberries with a dab of heavy cream. Now I find there are a plethora of berries I have been missing. The kiwi is a berry! The lovely orangey-red wild pyracantha berry can be made into jam. That blows my mind. Sumac berries from the staghorn sumac make a refreshing drink known as Indian lemonade.

Janie Hibler's Berry Bible is a treasure trove of information about berries and, even more exciting, a treasure trove of recipes. Now that spring has left us and summer's high temperatures are hovering, these recipes hit the mark. Berries are ripening on vine or tree, like the Arbutus Strawberry Tree Fruit - whose fruit can be made into a tart jam to use on biscuits or scones. Or the Mountain Ash Berry Rowenberry can be made into a tart jelly and served with rich meats and wild game. There's Citrus-Elderberry Summer Cooler and Juneberry-Raspberry Ice Cream Topping. How about Gooseberry Cheese? That really intrigues me. Or try Boysenberry Honey; Loganberry Chiffon Pie with Lemon Cookie Crust; or White Chocolate, Cranberry and Pistachio Bark. And Asian Blackberry Barbecue Sauce sounds wonderful.

The Berry Bible is peppered with tidbits of history and short articles on various berries, such as 'An Eskimo Woman's Memories of Berry Picking', or 'Clementine's Perfect Strawberry Tart' from Clementine in the Kitchen. Everything you ever wanted to know - and lots you never even thought of - is packed into the pages of this great cookbook. It's one that will become dogeared and stained on your shelf as the years go by and you try the recipes, one you will never loan out. And you can be sure I will watch our local wild blackberry bushes to get the fruit before the birds or sneaky neighbors hog them all ... maybe I should invest in some netting.

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