Our rezen are actually mulberries

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Dear readers, I am back. Yes, finally. I apologize for my long absence.

This month marks two years since I first started writing this blog. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your loyalty. I would also like to apologize for neglecting to share my tasty Haitian anecdotes. I hope you won’t hold it against me for too long. To celebrate this two-year accomplishment, I am writing an update to one of the very first articles published on Tchakayiti two years ago.

Those of you who’ve been reading me since the beginning will recall my Wild berries? Berries? “Rezen in which I speak of my long walks to Kenscoff. These hikes almost always included hand-picking wild berries from the side of the road. I also briefly mention a variety of berries, which name I did not know at the time. I had always referred to them as “rezen” just like the abitan of Kenscoff did. These berries look like tiny bunches of grapes, which would explain this appellation. Grapes are called rezen in Haitian Creole. 

I, however, finally had the joy of finding out, through one of our Instagram followers, that these rezen of ours are actually mulberries.

Mulberries grow on a tree with frail but tall branches that are often unreachable. Its branches are so high up that our infamous birds get to enjoy most of its fruits before us humans. Our orchard is really a treasure for those birds. Depending on the season, they get to enjoy peaches, mandarins, apples, loquat, and now mulberries, courtesy of our #LakouLakay!

And this year, our family of feathered visitors who prey on our fruits grew to include a bird better known under the name “mom.”

Yes, I just referred to my mom as a bird. She’s been stealing our rezen from the tree just like the birds. Only she doesn’t eat them. She’s been trapping unripe mulberries in a bottle. They will macerate there for months and become what we call  tranpe, a typical Haitian macerated fruit drink.

There's nothing more refreshing than some mulberry juice with a hint of lime. | tchakayiti.com

Thanks to my mother, several mulberry harvests are now trapped in a bottle filled with Haitian rum and white sugar.

I don’t actually have anything against tranpe. I love sipping some on ice when the weather cools down. However, I also enjoy eating freshly handpicked rezen straight from the tree. It’s much more rewarding than having to wait weeks for them to be fully macerated. My mother will not let anyone taste her tranpe until she decides it’s ready.

Indeed, a few days ago, she denied me a sampling shot.  She refused to extend me the courtesy of letting me taste her tranpe. Even after handpicking most of them.

Empty-handed, I set out to go to the berry war with both my mother and the birds. I now handpick my mulberries every afternoon as I get home from work.  

These berries are the joy of my evenings. I wish they could be in season all year long.

This is one of the reasons I partially forgive my mother for having trapped so many mulberries in a bottle. With her tranpe, I will be able to enjoy mulberries even when they’re off season.

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