Some of us pick blackberries with care and precision, wandering around the outside of the bushes and picking only the biggest or easiest to find – that would be myself. Me and those like me are not kamikaze pickers! Our berries are clean of debris. Then there are the others – they clothe themselves in their armour and dive into the middle of the bushes and come out triumphant – that would be my husband. His berries often include leaves and grass, not enough to count, but they are there. This is reflected in the state of our buckets. My husbands bucket is full to overflowing and mine is not quite full – between us we picked 12 pounds in about an hour. Very respectable picking. Last week we picked about 12.5 pounds in the same time. It has been a very good year for blackberries.
Our blackberries are not the local ones, which are small, very delicious and very hard to find – if you know where they are you do not share! The description below is from the Edible Wild Plant Project.
TRAILING WILD BLACKBERRY: Rubus ursinus – Look closely at the ground while strolling through city lanes and forest paths and you might spot the sprawling trailing blackberry. This smaller cousin of the introduced and highly visible Himalayan Blackberry, is the only native blackberry species on Vancouver Island and has long been a traditional food source of First Nations people. The berries can be eaten fresh, used in baking and cooking, or dried. The leaves can be picked and dried to make tea throughout the year.The plant has white flowers that can be eaten fresh or used in tea.
We pick the Himalayan Blackberry. This is an invasive species, but is large, juicy and delicious. It makes great jam, jelly or pies and is free for the picking.
Our local government is trying to eradicate the species, with limited success. I understand why, but I am not sure that I agree. Yes – it is invasive and chokes out local plants – which we often regard as weeds. So what it is replacing is only better in that it is native to our area. We certainly don’t want it in our gardens, but out in the bush, why not? It has a use and is easy to grow and will continue to produce and so is not all bad! I’m for keeping the blackberry bushes!
Last week I made 20 or so jars of Blackberry Jelly. It is jelly this year at the request of my father and Tom’s mother, they prefer no seeds. I make will some more jelly and maybe some jam as well and then freeze some for berry crisp or pies.
Today I will finish the Sea Stars for the Tidal Pool Shawl and tomorrow I will paint. This will most likely be the last painting of the year. I have idea’s to knit up over the fall and winter for next summer and the new painting season. But they won’t be done early enough to squeeze in any painting, realistically it will be too cold in about a month.
Happy Knitting and Good Luck Picking
Try around the Long Lake Boat Ramp – there might still be some berries left!