The blackerries in our nearby Woodland grow like a weed (much to our delight) and this year we’ve been eagerly checking in on them as we wander past every couple of days. I’ve thought they were “ready for picking” a few times, plump and black and calling to me from the path below. Unfortunately our taste tester (Master 7) likes them bitter and tart and before realising this we had a few false starts trundling down with our plastic bags in tow, only to discover there wasn’t a sweet berry among them (doh).
After a quick check late Saturday we knew they were good to go and on Sunday we donned our long pants and long sleeved shirts with our plastic bags in hand and headed to the woodland.
Brambling Tip: If you’re short, it’s important to have someone bigger than you to stomp a path through to the best berries. Alternately you could qualm the greedy guts within and not try and fill an entire large stock pot with blackberries (but dude! there are pies to be made, jam to be licked delicately from ones fingers and more importantly..they’re FREE).
I like to think of my scratched hands and stained fingers as badges of honour. We laboured hard, sacrificed our flesh and put the pre wash stain remover to good use that night, all for the love of blackberries (and free stuff).
A word of warning to those who are a little squeamish about teensy tiny spiders: If you are indeed touching and picking blackberries you are also touching spiders. Itsy bitsy ones that are masters of disguise and quite happy to explore your living room/kitchen when you get them home. You may just discover these little guys making a run for it out of your pot and onto your table cloth or kitchen bench and you might just let out one of those under-your-breath squeals.
After a good soaking (30 minutes to an hour) those spiders were goners and we were ready for the pie making to begin!
I couldn’t decide which kind of pie to make, so I made both. A Blackberry Pie and an Apple and Blackberry Pie. I also made some blackberry jam which I’d love to say turned out brilliantly but alas jam making is not my forte and I boiled it too long. It’s yummy but not at all spreadable (oops!).
All in all I love our new annual family tradition of picking blackberries together (especially the pie part). Free family fun and I think an important lesson to kids about our food not just magically appearing on the supermarket shelf but taking labour and hard work.
* We picked wild blackberries for the first time last year, here’s that post.