Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bethany's Tips for Blackberry-ing

For weeks now a lot of my spare time has gone to the blackberries. Falling in the ranks of the those strange people that get an actual thrill from picking things from a real live plant and then eating them versus the folks that find the aesthetics of supermarket plastic appealing, I was thrilled when I realized the back of the new property is ringed with native blackberries.

However, to be completely honest I had no idea how long picking blackberries took and I'd never truly internalized the meaning of blackberry brambles. Brambles they are thorny, grabby, sticky things that reach out for your hat or your hair. They grasp and take hold of your shirt and your gloves and on the unprepared and uncovered they are certainly willing to tangle themselves in the skin you are in.

Thankfully, I've devised an almost full-proof system for safe and effective blackberry-ing and am only sporting minimal scars from my endeavors. My system includes tongs from the kitchen, heavy leather gloves, a long sleeve shirt, and hat, mosquito repellent and moves that would make my yoga teacher proud. In fact, who needs to practice yoga when they see the most beautiful blackberry just beyond reach and go into the "just a little bit further" blackberry pose?

I do enjoy myself out there. I have a strange sense of accomplishment from picking things my very own self and I've made several pints of blackberry syrup (which I'm here to tell you is an excellent combination with whole wheat flax blueberry pancakes) and blackberry jelly. I also have several bags in the freezer for when blackberry time is done and I need a little blackberry for my morning yogurt. I know it's a simple pleasure but at least it keeps me off the streets and burns some calories (at least until I eat the fruits of my labor).


  1. Blackberries already? Nice. :) They won't be fruiting here until August; September if there's not much sun.

    When I was a kid we had an apple tree in our back garden and tons of brambles (blackberry bushes) in the front hedge, so blackberry-and-apple pie was a great autumn kitchen favourite pudding.

    Blackberries grow plentifully wild here. Looking forward to more autumn foraging! Oh and you are mega-wise to use leather gloves!! :)

  2. Glad you are able to derive such pleasure from such an environmentally friendly enterprise. Looking forward to sampling some of the fare shortly. How did you get the pic?

  3. There were lots of blackberries in BC where I grew up, so we always had jams and pies. I miss picking them.

  4. This makes me smile. I'm also one of those people who love picking blackberries, although I admire your 'bramble proof' attire- I never seemed to think that part through and ended up with cuts and scratches (and thorns) in almost every uncovered area.

    I love blackberries, and blueberries. My parents have some huge hybrid blackberries that they ordered from burpee or somewhere. They always freeze them so I'll have some when I visit and they are So good!

    I've never had blackberry syrup, but it sounds heavenly, and blackberry jam is one of my all time favorites.

  5. Tea, we're nearing the end of the blackberry season here. The bushes are looking a bit scraggly. Blackberry and apple, sounds like a yummy combination. Apples aren't big crop in the southern US or Texas. I hadn't actually seen an apple growing on a tree until a couple of years ago with Fin when we spent a day in Rhode Island. Weird, huh. Pears yes, apples no.

    Fin, I'm looking forward to that too. The pic was obtained with the ususal timer function on the camera and scurrying on my part. :)

    Kate, I haven't ever made a blackberry pie. I really should try that out.

    Wiz, hopefully next year we'll have our first crop of blueberries. I've started three varieties. Thankfully, I have a friend who is part of the southern fruit growers club and she likes to share plants. Several months ago she gave me several bare root blueberries. It took me a while but I finally got those in the ground and they're coming along. The same friend also feels sorry for me that I have to pick the puny little native blackberries so she's already stated her intention of bringing me some shoots from her commercial blackberries. They should produce something similiar to what your parents have.

    Blackberry syrup is yummy. Next time you guys are in the States we'll have to have a pancake supper and you can come try some out.

  6. Sounds like great fun. We did have apples in Texas, around Kerrville and Fredricksburg in particular, although to be honest, the were a bit tart for my taste. Probably perfect for a pie.

  7. I have this huge smile on my face from reading this. if you only knew how well I can relate to this. Maggs

  8. Fresh blackberry pie ... nothing better.

  9. Something I am very accustomed too, picking blackberries. I've crammed my freezer full of blackberries, blackberry pulp, blackberry juice. I've got 30 something jars of blackberry jelly. And I've made half a dozen or so blackberry cobblers....all this year!!


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