Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blackberries; vicious and delicious

Being a NW native had made me a better than average blackberry picker. Despite it's vicious nature, the fruit is sublime and it really isn’t summer until we have gathered, gorged and froze as much as possible. Tending the wounds of another season all the way.

NW Blackberry picking method:

First, you need to cultivate the blackberry patch as they first ripen. Pick that one berry on the cluster and come back in a day or two. It triggers all the others to ripen and sends energy into berry production and you get bigger, fatter berries further in the season.

This is not for the easy to reach blackberryies that just happen to be arms reach from the path. This is bush whacking, x-treme berry picking and not for the faint of heart.

Tools needed:

* Good quality, solid, wide shoes: Keens are perfect
* Long pants and long sleeves - * optional, depending on your risk level
* Smallish buckets, like large yogurt tubs

The trick is to get those hard to reach, way back there berries. Here is where my big shoes come in! Find a cane that is reaching out toward you, lift your leg clear and STOMP that cane, continue STOMPING all along until you have pinned that whole section to the ground. This will exposed all sorts of previously hard to reach berries while also getting the needle sharp thorns away. I know this sounds scary and it is if you do not have good shoes but they just aren’t so vicious pinned to the ground and once stomped, it will easier the next time.

Yummy!

What to do with all these fabulous hard won berries? Eat them, of course. Just plain pop them in your mouth or sprinkled them on cereal. Blackberry milkshakes get high summer marks around here.

Or cook with them. Blackberry pancakes crumble, muffins, cobbler, pie – all tried and true winners.

Or maybe you have so many that you want to preserve them in jam, but I have find freezing to be the easiest.

Wash and drain berries. Line large cookie sheet with paper towel. Sprinkler berries so they cover the sheet in one layer. Put into freezer. This makes sure the berries individually freeze. Store in

Invasive species

The Himalayan blackberry was an introduced species that has adapted so well to the NW that it is considered invasive. Ask anyone who has ever tried to get rid of it and they will attest to its vicious personality and well armed canes. Although it is very hard to get rid of, they are ok to good for the soil and if you can finally clear them out you will be pleasantly surprised with the rich soil underneath.

Don't even try Roundup on these monsters and poisin is never a good idea. Big machines and tractors are good. And, there is, of course, back breaking labor. You may be are interested in letting some animals do it.

Rent-a-ruminent a local company that will visit your blackberry, scotchbroom, ivy patch and unleash the power of goats to clean up. If you got to get rid of them, this is the way to do it.

3 comments:

Holly said...

Hey, not sure if I've ever had a blackberry, strange how I don't know that!! But I love how you have been living on the land this year (or perhaps every year?) with your garden and all.

And happy b-day to your daughter; 11 is a great age, still young and sweet but old enough to make herself a sandwich!!

Shea's Mom said...

I have missed you, Holli! How are you?

XO

Holly said...

Hey, that's so nice, thanks. I have been a bit busy with work and took some vacation time... But never too far!!

Oh by the way, I thought of you at the market today and bought some Blackberries!! Yum!

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