Go blackberrying!

Yesterday, I invited a friend over to go blackberrying. Beforehand, I had bought a packet of jam-sugar in the supermarket, a brand of the klutz-friendly variety. Basically “just add fruit and boil”.
We dressed up in our oldest clothes, hopped on our bikes, and cycled to a nearby piece of urban wasteland with lots of blackberry bushes. Within 20 minutes, it became a contest, (with lots of excited girlie giggles at really big blackberrys or *really * big spiders running away from us) and we each had picked over a pound of juicy blackberrys.

Back home, we had tons of fun making blackberry jam. And it was so easy, we didn’t even mess up the kitchen! Hmm… maybe I’ve grown up, at last. I’m now the proud owner of three jars of the most heavenly tasting jam. My friend took the other three jars.

Boy, that was fun! :cool:

That’s pretty cool. Did you take any pictures?

Girls covered in blackberry stains … mmmmm …

The balckberries here have been a bit iffy this year, I think it has just been too wet.

We did go off in search of some on Saturday evening, but had only picked a couple of handfuls when we chanced upon an enormous wild mushroom (which turned out to be Agaricus Excellens and very aptly named it was) - I let the kids eat the blackberries and put the mushroom in the plastic box. It started to rain just after that, so we headed for home anyway - we ate half the mushroom with scrambled eggs for breakfast the next day and the other half with bacon and bread rolls for lunch.

I’ve been out and about looking for decent blackberries, but have only picked and frozen a couple of pounds this year (as opposed to more than twenty pounds last summer) - I’ve been driven back from most bushes by lots of wasps, which seem to have done rather too well this year.

Since we’re talking about blackberries I have a question as I am a little new to blackberries.

Bought this house three years ago, some blackberries growing in the back yard beside the grapes. (I have since learned that blackberries love grapes, they always grow well together).

I cut back the overgrowth, tamed the overgrown grapevine (built an arbour for it) and the blackberries have responded by multiplying nicely.

They are just so yummy and sweet, well, sometimes. I’ve often eaten blackberries but this is my first experience picking them.

I was understandably anxious to taste some and so was not surprised to find the first few I picked were still bitter. So I waited some more. But I didn’t do much better this year at determining when they are ready.

I only took the ones that were really black and full looking, and came easily from the cone/base. But still many were not so very sweet.

So I’m wondering, how to tell when they actually get sweet, y’know before I pick them and put them in my mouth.

What am I doing wrong? Or is it just experience?

Okay so patience isn’t my strongest suit, there, I admit it!

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.


There’s something unutterably tragic in the fact that I initially thought this thread was about PDAs.

Last summer our wild berry bushes finally bore fruit and we invited some friends to help us pick. When my friend’s daughter put down her partially filled bowl to put on a sweater, Phyllis the Wonder Springer found it, and emptied it. After that she figured out where the berries were, and for the rest of the berry season, when we went on walks Phyllis and her sister Dottie (who picks up on these things) would bound over to the berry bushes and relieve the lower branches of their fruit. Chomp chomp chomp.

This year the branches were unfortunately bare. So no berry-picking dogs this year!

elbows, from my past experience with raspberries (blackberries don’t grow wild in Alberta), they need some sun to really bring out the sweetness. I hope you get it before the bugs eat all of the blackberries!

mmmm, wild blackberry tarts! You actually have to add sugar to yours? The stuff we picked in upstate NY were plenty sweet.

I hear we also had wild blueberries, from just about anyone I’ve talked to who was also in Upstate, but I’ve never seen any there!

I totally did this too, you aren’t alone.

“Oh, you mean BLACKBERRIES… riiiightt…”

Grandmother carrier a stick-with-a-nail-in-it to fend off snakes when she went blackberry picking.
She made outstanding blackberry cobbler.

I remember going out to pick blackberries with my mom when I was a kid. She always told us to watch out for snakes. (Snakes supposedly liked to lurk in blackberry bushes.)

Down here in GA, USA, blackberries ripen in early summer. So blackberry season is long over here. :frowning:

I love blackberries.

Maastricht, that sounds like the best day! This weekend, Left Hand of Dorkness and I are going blueberry picking. I’m excited. Blueberry pie, me oh my…

Am I the only one to whine about blackberries? With great apologies to the OP, I feel it must be said:

Blackberries drive me mad!

I have an unpaved driveway, and the wild blackberry bushes keep encroaching, no matter how much I cut them back. They’re also taking over large sections of our road frontage, exposing us as the slacker landscapers that we are. And cutting them back is no mean feat – those vicious thorns go right through my gardening gloves. Not to mention how the legs get scratched up any time I wear shorts. And I find the blackberries themselves too seedy/crunchy to really be enjoyed as a fresh fruit. I’ll take the wild blueberries that grow in the other section of our lot any day over blackberries. (Unfortunately, so will the birds, making the blueberry quest a matter of exquisite timing.)

I suppose I’d be willing to give cooked blackberries a shot. :dubious: Anyone want to suggest a recipe for a skeptic?

Blackberry meringue pie.

Get half a pound of blackberries, simmer them gently in a pan with just a couple of tablespoons of water; when they are soft (10 to 15 minutes?), sieve them to remove the pips. You should be left with something like a quarter of a pint of juice/pulp, maybe a bit more.

Use any old lemon meringue pie recipe (this one will do, or this one if you prefer American measurements), replacing the lemon juice and some of the water with the blackberry juice/pulp. proceed as directed.
This is a good one to surprise guests because until you cut it open, they’re thinking “oh, lemon meringue pie, how rather ordinary” - the fruit layer turns the most beautiful lurid deep magenta purple colour and the flavour is incredible.

We have tons of blackberry vines along the river about five minutes from our house. (We also have a bunch growing behind/over/under our back fence, but that’s another thread.) We have gathered huge bowlsful of berries in the past; there are usually several groups out on any given weekend day. Fresh blackberries make fantastic ice cream! (But be sure to strain them first, unless you like your ice cream crunchy)

Enjoy, and happy picking!

I haven’t been blackberry picking, but I did eat one off the vine a couple of weeks ago. Very good; better than others I’ve had. My best fiend, who used to live in the South, calls the blackberry bushes “Kudzu of the North”. They grow *everywhere… especially where you don’t want them to. I’ve got some hacking to do.

1:Gather firewood
2: Pile firewood around offending bushes
3: Cover everything in the accelerant of your choice
4: Light some newspaper, throw it on the wood
5: RUN!

I mow over them.
But with the pie receipe…

Me too. I feel like such a twat.

I meant also to add that 'round these parts, we also have a lot of dewberries (Rubus Caesius) and wild raspberries - in places where their ranges overlap, a good variety of interesting naturally-occurring hybrids can be found; some of them like loganberries or black raspberries, others like those enormous cultivated blackberries (although not thornless)