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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

And the Great Blackberry Harvest Begins


We forage for wild blackberries every year. Due to our cool May and June this year, the blackberries are ripening a couple of weeks late. But yesterday, in the late afternoon/early evening, my two daughters said they thought there might be some ripe berries nearby on their walking path. They took a few containers and brought home the first of our 2022 blackberry harvest, about 12 quarts. My main job with the blackberries is to wash and freeze them all. 


Last year, I posted a photo of one of the two giant bags of frozen blackberries we put away. These bags are the size of a standard bed pillow when filled. 


Here they are empty. I've set a dinner plate on top of the stack of bags to give you a sense of just how big these are. My family will be picking feverishly for the next 2 weeks to gather as many as we can. 


We eat blackberries all winter long in pies, crisps, yogurt, smoothies, pancake syrup, in oatmeal -- anyway I can think to use them. I have no idea what the value is of this much fruit. But I do know that I don't need to buy much fruit at all during winter because of all of the berries we forage each year.

My husband commented that my daughters "were out there with all the other poor people picking the berries." I set him straight on his thinking -- we don't forage blackberries because we're poor. We forage these berries because we're smart. I suspect that there are a lot of folks who turn up their noses at these wild-grown, freely available berries.  The way I see it, these berries are super nutrient dense. They are there for the taking. If we don't pick them, perhaps half or more will fall off the canes to rot on the ground and be wasted. I feel like they've been put in our area for consumption. If we're willing to harvest and use them, that is better than allowing them to go to waste. And we save money and boost our health because we're willing to eat them.

Obviously, I hope we fill two of these large bags again this year. I guess we'll just have to see how well we do in the foraging.

10 comments:

  1. You are so lucky to have those blackberries so readily available to you. I think it’s fun to go out and find food in nature. I guess we have a few huckleberries around here-I just now heard about this?? I don’t really care for them. I (likely trespassed) years ago to go pick oodles of chokecherries lol. I know where some raspberries are, but they are so tiny. We’ve gone a couple times, but my Dh hates going because there’s bears around that area and they love berries. I say go for it and pick all those berries with the other smart people!

    Diane

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    Replies
    1. Hi Diane,
      I realize just how fortunate we are to have so many blackberries in my area. I'm very grateful for them. And I do feel smart to use them.
      The only huckleberries I've had were in jam, which I liked. My sister was traveling in Montana and brought a jar of huckleberry jam for us. It was delicious. So I planted a type of huckleberry that would grow in my area, an evergreen huckleberry. The berries are on the small side, but I did manage to make jam one year. Now the birds have found them and they never make it to ripeness. Oh well.
      I've never had chokecherries. Did you eat them as is or make preserves? Yikes! If I had bears in my area, I wouldn't want to go out there, either.

      Delete
  2. Picking blackberries was very much a part of my childhood. I can almost taste the blackberry cobblers we made with them now. We also put them in the freezer and canned them. I think the wild ones taste much better than the cultivated ones. In addition, along with making the cultivated fruit bigger, they made the seeds bigger. Big enough to be a problem. Anyway, I think you're lucky and smart to be pick wild blackberries. I wish I knew a place to do that.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Are those fond memories from picking blackberries as a child? Your childhood gave you so many useful skills. I do wish I was more competent at canning. I do jam, pickles and salsa, but not fruit as is. It would be nice to can some of these to save freezer space.
      I sometimes wonder what my own kids will think of their childhood. I hope they remember things like blackberry picking with fondness.

      Delete
  3. I'm sorry your husband is wrong, why not take advantage of free fruit that your family will eat all winter. Maybe husband doesn't need all those delicious desserts you make?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Ha ha! I chuckled at your comments. Perhaps he doesn't really need that slice of pie or cobbler after all. Thanks for helping me see humor in this.

      Delete
  4. I'm so jealous! I wish I had the option of picking wild berries nearby. That is an incredible "haul". I'm not all that familiar with blackberries, wild or otherwise, but if they were available to me and free, I'd be eating them for sure! My adult son really likes blackberries. I don't have blackberries, but thankfully my mother has amazing blueberry bushes that are quite prolific that she shares with my family. I have a bush myself, but our berries are never quite as large or sweet as hers. Like you, we eat some fresh and then freeze some to have with winter oatmeal and cereal. I make some desserts with them but am somewhat stingy in the amounts I use in order to make them last. I can't imagine a bag that large and full of berries. Happy foraging!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lynn,
      Before I moved here, I'd only had blackberries from the store on a couple of occasions. I thought they were amazing and was so sad when the tiny carton was empty. So to have this many is a real treat. I know I never would buy this many if that was my only option.
      How wonderful that your mother has such an abundance of blueberries from her bushes, and that she shares with you! My blueberry bushes have been struggling the last couple of years. I'd like to increase their production and am thinking through how to remedy this. I wouldn't call that stingy in using them sparingly to stretch them out. I do the same. With our blueberries, I think it's better to have some berries on multiple nights/days than to use them all up in a single pie. Enjoy those berries!

      Delete
  5. I had an opportunity to visit Vancouver Island in August for a few years. The house we stayed at and the walking paths nearby had so many blackberry bushes. I wished I could bring some back in my luggage. I also saw so much just dropping off the bushes. I don’t know if they had locations noted on Fallenfruit.org.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Teresa,
      Yes, the entire northwest corridor is covered with wild blackberries. Many people think of them as a nuisance, and I guess they can be. They can invade gardens and yards and are very thorny. But I really appreciate the free fruit. I'm glad you had a chance to enjoy some complimentary blackberries while visiting BC.
      I'll check out that website. Thanks for the URL!

      Delete

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