In July, when the berries become red, they are ready for making into an amazing and tart cold drink. The ones in this picture are a little on the early side, but we just couldn't wait for one of our favorite summertime refreshments. We gather about 5-8 depending on their size.
Preparation: Crush the flowerheads with your fingers into a half-gallon container. Cover them with cold water. Hot water makes it taste yucky! Then put it in the fridge for 24 hours. When the water blushes to the color of a raspberry iced tea, take it out and strain the flowers out. We use jelly bags now, but before we discovered these wonderful inventions, we used an old, clean T-shirt. It worked just fine. I love the tart flavor of the unsweetened drink, but adding a sugar syrup to taste is great. To make the syrup, add equal parts sugar and water and boil until the sugar is dissolved. We've tried just sweetening by adding sugar right to the liquid, but for some reason the results were always disappointing.
This concoction is a great way to pique the interest of folks who have never tried wild foods. I once served some to a skeptical bunch of middle-school kids who drank almost two gallons and then begged me for more.