What: Also known as bakeapple, this relative of the rose family (Rosaceae) looks like an apricot-coloured raspberry, with fatter drupelets (the individual juicy lobes). Every spring, its underground rhizome system sends up shoots that produce small white flowers that then develop into the distinctive berries. They're used for making preserves, tarts and even liqueur and beer.
When: A wild fruit, cloudberries are harvested by foragers throughout August.
Where: Native to circumpolar regions, this perennial grows on both mossy tundra and in boreal forests, where it thrives in bogs. It's particularly abundant in Newfoundland and Labrador, along Quebec's Lower North Shore and in Cape Breton.
How: Bacalao is a restaurant in St. John's that has won accolades for its use of local fare. We asked pastry chef Andrea Maunder how to make the most of these precious berries.
"They're known as bakeapples here, but they don't have an apple flavour - they have an apricot-y, earthy, tart-sweet flavour. They're almost tropical, so they pair beautifully with mango and pineapple. If you wanted to make a compote, that's a good way to stretch the flavour.
"Use two cups of fruit total. Start with a cup of pineapple and mango first, cut up in a pot with a few tablespoons of water and half a cup of sugar. Simmer that for a few minutes on medium heat and then add the cup of bakeapples and keep cooking until it starts to look like a jam. It's beautiful on cheesecake, ice cream or some homemade bread."
Where to buy
To order when they come available from foragers, try www.belbins.com or www.bidgoods.ca. The Dark Tickle (www.darktickle.com) sells cloudberry preserves, and Rodrigues Winery (www.rodrigueswinery.com) makes berry wine.
Special to The Globe and Mail
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