Hybrids & Fruit Bars

I find it fascinating that there are so many raspberry-blackberry hybrid crosses out there. We have loganberries, tayberries, and boysenberries and that is not to mention the more complex hybrids of youngberries (a cross between raspberries, blackberries and dewberries) and olallieberries (a cross between loganberries and youngberries). Since I’m sure I’ve missed more, I have to ask: How many breeding brambles are there?

loganberries_ripening

I grow thornless loganberries in my garden. They are incredibly prolific and if I am not careful, they will self-propagate by a method called tip layering – that is the tips of the vine will find soil where they will begin to root and send up new shoots – like their horrid wild cousins, the spiny brambles that take over if left to grow (like my side garden). I now have two plants, each with multiple vines, both healthy and strong. Plus, I’ve given away any number of loganberry plants over the years.

The upshot of these vines growing in my garden are a surplus of deep red-purple berries. It might be more appropriately described as a glut. In fact, getting ready for this year’s crop, while defrosting the freezer, I discovered more frozen from last year. Emergency recipes were required!

loganberry_bars

Loganberry Crumble Bars
These are a version of my jam crumble bars, only made with a “rough and ready” loganberry jelly. Very scrumptious! But, if you aren’t lucky enough to have loganberries, simply substitute the filling with a jam of your choice. I’ve tried strawberry, raspberry, apricot, blueberry and plum jam crumble bars – all delicious.

The Crumble:

  • 375g (3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 225g (1 cup) castor sugar
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 225g (1 cup, 16oz., 2 “sticks”) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Prepare a 9 x 13 inch baking pan by buttering the bottom and sides. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar and finely chopped lemon zest. Cut the butter into small pieces and add this to the flour/sugar, mixing with a pastry cutter or fork until it looks like a crumble. Beat the egg and add this to the crumble, mixing with a wooden spoon until well blended. Press 2/3 of the dough evenly into the square pan, reserving 1/3 for the top.

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Meanwhile, extract your loganberry juice by crushing 2-1/2 cups of berries. Defrosted berries from frozen are easiest – simply mash with a potato masher. If you are using fresh, heat slightly and then mash. Press the juice through a sieve. You should have about 8 to 10 fluid oz. of juice.

loganberries_defrosted

The Jelly Filling:

  • 225g (1 cup) jam sugar, this is sugar with added pectin
  • 8 to 10 fluid oz. (1 to 1-1/2 cups) loganberry juice
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

Place the sugar, loganberry and lemon juices into a heavy bottomed pot. Heat to a vigorous boil. Boil for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from boiling over. Test for set by putting a small spoonful onto a cold plate. If the jelly should begin to wrinkle when you move it with the side of your finger, it is set. Remove from heat and put into a bowl. Let the jelly cool slightly, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken. Spoon over the pressed crumble in the pan.

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Top with the remaining crumble.

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Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is beginning to brown. Some of the jelly may have “escaped” along the edges. Cool on a rack.

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When completely cool, cut into bars. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

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24 comments

    • Jostaberry? That was a new one on me – had to look it up immediately. Kind of a black gooseberry. Wishing you luck with it. My red gooseberries are just beginning to ripen and the black currants are all harvested. Perhaps you may have to wait for next year for it to produce fruit. The crumble bars are so versatile and I use any number of jams with it, but the loganberry jelly had the best, tartest flavour.

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    • I can see you would love these tart berries, given your love of rhubarb. I expect more this year as The second plant is just coming into its own. I can foresee loganberry jelly and loganberry curd – both favourites.

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  1. That slice is very reminiscent of one I ate as a child. It looks delicious- and what a luxury it is to have a glut of berries. I have some of the varieties you mention- but our loganberry has thorns. I should look out for a thornless variety. The photos from home show that our raspberries are still producing a few large pink specimens. ( Melbourne is bitterly cold at present) This means I have found a very good variety- I have no idea which one- which apppears to be ever bearing. The berries were protected by a large compost bin so when we get back, some interesting structures will be built.

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    • I had always assumed that loganberries were thornless since that is all I have seen in this country. The one in my picture is growing on an arched trellis and has nearly covered the whole arch. Could your raspberries be the autumn bearing ones? You can tell this by observing if the canes that are produced this year bear fruit. If so, they are the autumn bearing ones, the most popular variety is called ‘Autumn Bliss’. Summer raspberries only produce fruit on the previous year’s canes. I had raspberries well into October last year, so they do grow in the cooler temps. Sounds like you are in for a berry treat when you get home!

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  2. I would never have trouble using a berry glut, we love all kinds of berries. I resort to buying frozen fruit over winter for puddings and desserts. You slice is reminiscent of a recipe my Mum made too!

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    • Me, too, but it was a shock finding more berries in the freezer when I thought I had finished the lot. I really need to invest in another freezer as my small one sees to be perpetually full, which makes it difficult to find things. This type of slice is a common snack here in the UK and is one way to use up lots of jam!

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  3. Our loganberries are in full production so maybe this will be the thing to do with them when we’re beginning to get a little bored with them. I see in your photo that your berries are quite pink – is that a true colour or just the way the colour has come out in the photo? We never pick our loganberries until they are deep purple (way past the colour you’d pick raspberries) as they’re sweet and luscious then but maybe for jam they’d be better a little less ripe.

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    • I took that photo when they were first beginning to turn colour, and yes I pick them when deep red-purple (which they are just beginning to do now). I think our growing season is about a month later that the south – at least that is my observation having gardened in Oxford and now here in Yorkshire. The loganberries I used for this slice were frozen from last year and for some reason they became redder when defrosted from frozen. Now, how did that happen? I find them sweet, but still tarter than raspberries. So, yes, jams and jellies are a good option.

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  4. I am a new visitor to your blog. I really enjoy it! We grow some version of wild black raspberries in our yard. I hope to try your recipe with them.

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    • Hi! I’m so glad you visited my blog. I’m also glad to see you mentioned BLACK raspberries. Over the past 25 years or so I have been trying to convince my (British) husband that these 1. exist and 2. are not the same as blackberries. There are some things I miss about the States and wild (black) raspberry picking is one of them! The crumble bars will be great made with the jelly from them.

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      • Thank you so much for visiting my blog as well. As soon as more of my black raspberries become ripe, I am hoping to do a blog post about them (with a muffin recipe). Maybe then your husband can see the photos of them and see that they really do exist. 🙂

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  5. I would love to have some rambling loganberries in my yard! Perhaps next year we could plant some raspberries or some other variety 🙂 Your bars look wonderfully delicious!

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    • You would love a loganberry plant (or two) and raspberries in the garden. They really are very rewarding plants. And, kids love to pick them – at least mine did, usually eating more in the process than were brought into the kitchen!

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  6. I always thought the same…especially when reading or searching foreign recipes… So many kind of berries!!! …in Italy for example we don’t have loganberries… And i don’t even know where to find a plant to grow! …anyway I love yours and what you made with them, delicious bars! 🙂

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