This recipe has a bit of a backstory…
I’ve been what some would call “a hiking fool” this summer, but hey, I moved to West Virginia for more nature in my life and I’m surely soaking it all up.
Honestly, another reason for my new hiking love is that I went for a group hike with some friends this spring and had a truly humbling climb up. Despite the strength I have from boxing and other cardio training, climbing mountains was something my body just didn’t recognize. I secured a spot at the back of the pack that day—too many years as a flatlander in Chicago, I guess…
But I’m a gal who loves a challenge. And when I’m “down,” I don’t feel sorry for myself, I see an opportunity to change things. I made a quiet promise on that climb—I was going to hike that trail at least once a week until… well, I didn’t know that part yet. But once a week I would climb that beast.
The very next Friday, I woke up, ignored my computer, made a smoothie, packed a backpack and drove through the mountains to the base of the trail. At first, I had to stop a few times on the way up to catch my breath, stretch it all out and check to make sure my calves weren’t actually in flames. But after a only a few hikes, I could feel (and see!) my legs getting stronger and my stamina increasing. Any stopping was really only to look closely at the colors, textures (I have such a weakness for the beauty of mosses) or little creatures along the way.
It’s now been a few months and I’ve completely bonded with the mountains.
I’m now hiking more than once a week because my spirit has never felt better—the same spirit that whispered to me for years “leave this job, leave this career, leave the city, move to the country, it will all work out, I know your scared but you gotta do it, better things are waiting for you”…
Lately, instead of hitting the snooze button, I wake up craving the outdoors—the colors, the smells—THE SMELLS!—the sounds and all the little details wanting you to slow down enough to notice them.
I started hiking out of an obvious need to ramp up my fitness, but I had no idea how profoundly (and I don’t use that word lightly) Mother Nature would reach in and capture my heart.
I believe that this experience is a lot like this wellness journey we’re all on. We get a diagnosis, we read a powerful article, we witness a health transformation or we experience a setback and we’re inspired to clean up our diet and lifestyle. But what’s most amazing about this adventure is that we don’t know what lies ahead once we decide to go for it. We just have to stay resilient and open-minded for the surprises that will come our way.
I’ve had tears sneak up on me on the trail, I’ve had moments where I sing out loud (and no doubt call every nearby feral cat doing so) and I’ve had my Forrest Gump impulses where I just start running. May I suggest that in life, you give into these moments—there’s something downright “cleansing” about letting go…
Another bennie that comes with hiking? The little jewels known as wineberries!
The knowledge that my West Virginia pals have about plants, berries and other natural goodness is such a gift. Once I knew all about wineberries (thanks to them), I brought a Mason jar on my next hike.
Wineberries (aka Wine Raspberries, Japanese Raspberries) are a species of raspberry native to Northern China, Korea and Japan. They were brought to North America as an ornamental plant and for potential breeding with raspberries. Wineberries grow wild throughout much of North America and they’re common along the edges of fields and roadsides, but aren’t widely cultivated. Actually they’re considered “invasives,” which our gardening friends are surely familiar with. They’re one of the most easily identified wild edible plants, with no poisonous look-a-likes in North America. So get out there and forage!
Here’s a fun little “All About Wineberries” audio from WNYC if you want to learn more about wineberries. In it, they discuss the thorniness of the branches (which is quite true), but know that it’s almost effortless to grab the little berries and pluck them right off the bush.
They’re so delicious in this tart recipe, but go ahead and use wineberries in any recipes that call for raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. They also make a tasty vinaigrette. You can freeze them for later use in smoothies as well if you end up foraging a whole bunch of them.
Four 4″ tart pans*
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
2 cups freshly-foraged wineberries**
1 tbsp raw, wild-harvested honey (optional)
1 1/2 cups almonds
7 Medjool dates, pitted (here’s how)
1/2 tsp fine ground sea salt
1 tsp raw, wild-harvested honey
1 tsp coconut oil
2 tbsp unsalted almond butter
1 can coconut milk
1/3 cup water
2 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp agar powder (2 tbsp flakes)
3 tbsp raw, wild-harvested honey
1/4 tsp ground sea salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*You can make one large tart instead of 4 minis if you like, just use a 9″ – 9 1/2″ pie dish. You can also probably make 6 small tarts using 3″ ramekins, or bite-sized tarts using mini muffin tins… play.
**If you can’t find wineberries, you can easily make this tart using raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries or a tasty combo of all.
Let’s get started.
1. When you get home from foraging, wash your berries well and if you won’t be using them right away give them a soak using my favorite tip for keeping berries mold-free and plump.
2. Preheat oven to 325.
3. Toast almonds on an unbleached parchment paper-lined baking sheet for 5-7 minutes.
4. Transfer to food processor.
5. Pulse in remaining Crust ingredients until everything starts to stick together.
6. Grease tart pans with coconut oil and press crust into pans. Use fingers to shape sides and press the bottom.
7. Pop in the freezer.
8. Whisk together all Filling ingredients in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil and once boiling, remove from heat and keep whisking for 1 minute.
9. Remove tart crusts from the freezer and pour filling into crusts. Place them in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.
10. Once solid, toss berries with honey (if using)and set aside.
11. If you want to remove tarts from pans, run a butter knife around the edges and lift out. To make this easier I will sometimes freeze the tarts for about 20-30 minutes—it always helps tarts release from pan because the oil and crust solidifies better.
12. Top tarts with berries and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
Be sure to follow YumUniverse on Instagram if you enjoy more day-to-day inspirations (these hiking pics were pulled from that collection)…
Do you have a favorite recipe using wineberries? Tell us with a comment below!
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