Jackie – July 2013
I have a cure for the snakes in the blackberry patch. Fire up a chain saw and set it on the ground on one side of the patch for 2-3 minutes. You can watch the snakes skedaddle out the other side. The vibrations get them moving. For those with tame and wild blackberries just mix them and you still get good tasting jams and jellies. Our blueberries are almost done. We put about 5 gallons in the freezer. We have 8 bushes about 3-4 years old so they are just getting started. When we operated a food pantry in Utah we recieved 300 lbs of frozen blackberries in 30 lb cases. We knew none of our clients had freezer space for 30 lbs and probably most would not know what to do with them. Since we also held ‘life skill’ classes I made jam and jelly while my wife explained the process. One client said, “This is just like watching Emril on TV.” We let everyone taste the results and constantly heard, “This is much better than that stuff we buy.” We gave each family enough berries and sugar to make a run at home.
B.Ruth – July 2014
Wild Blackberries can be very invasive, so careful where you plant them. Also Blackberries produce only on the second years growth. Wait til the following year and watch for the blooms. Sometimes bitter berries are due to a dry spell after the bloom drops and while the berry is forming. Of course, those Japanese beetles make them nasty too. I would watch where I picked to avoid a spray over from toxins in the neighborhood or from road crews spraying to kill brush…PS I hate that dead look, but know there is not enough money to clean around ever pole and stop sign. Blackberries need Mother Natures help with a combination of heat and water to make the perfect sweet berry. Now that said, tame berries thorn-less, are not very sweet in my humble opinion. There could be some sweet ones now-a-days. The ones we had growing were not sweet. Soooo, I let my tried and true prickly critter ridden wild ones grow up and fill in the spaces. Birds plant a lot of wild blackberries around here as well as wild raspberries and dewberries.
Julie – July 2014
This makes me think of my Granny. She had a blackberry patch across the road by the pond. She would pick them until they were all gone. She always carried a hoe in case of copperheads. She would make jelly, jam, and blackberry dumplin’s. They are still my favorite. You roll out dough like you were making dumplin’s. Instead of dusting with flour you dust with sugar. Drop those babies in hot boiling blackberries and sugar and what a meal!! I liked mine hot with vanilla ice cream over the top. When I was lived in Seattle the blackberries grew wild everywhere. I mentioned at work were they sprayed or could we use them for pies. They looked at me like I was nuts. They told me those were considered trash berries and were saved for the birds to eat. Needless to say, for the four years I lived there the birds didn’t get as many berries!! They made the best pies and cobblers. The people at work could not believe I was using them. Their loss.
Junebug Skeert – July 2014
There is nothing like being out of a mornin’ or late evenin’ pickin’ blackberries! A jug of ice water nearby, your bucket and your own thoughts. As you clomp along shaking the ground somewhat to hopefully ward off that sneaky snake ahead of your tramped down path your making. Right in the middle of more unpicked briars, those loaded branches hanging up over your head you reach to grab the biggest ones you think you’ve seen all day. You are thinking, boy oh boy it won’t take many of these to make pie, cobbler and enough to make several runs of jelly. Then it happens, a head of June bugs make the loudest buzz you ever did hear and fly off the berries you were reaching for. It scares you til you almost pee in your pants and want to leave. You scream…the better half yells from down the way from where you are picking, “Is it a snake?” “Nope,” I yell back, my heart still beating hard, “just June bugs!” It takes a few minutes to gather your thoughts, and go back to picking and relax in the solitude of thoughts as you pick those berries! I think that is why I love sitting on the porch breaking beans, peeling apples or going fishing. You’re getting something done while your mind just wanders around pondering this and that. More people need to relax and do this type of work. I have heard men say they go hunting just to relax and think awhile waiting on that critter to show up!
Janet Smart – July 2014
My blackberries here in WV aren’t ripe yet. I’ve picked them since I was a kid. We always worried about ticks and snakes when we picked. We always wore boots, long pants and long sleeves when we went picking. When we had way too many, we walked down the road with a water bucket full and sold them. I think $2 for a water bucket was the going rate back then.
TimMc – July 2014
That is some of the best memories as a child when my Mom and I would go blackberry picking. We always wore long sleeves with coal-oil (kerosene) rags around our wrist and ankles. We’d carry a hoe so we could pull the ones you couldn’t reach toward you,, and to help chop a path or a defense if you ran into old no shoulders, (snakes). Mom always put up quite a few jars of jelly and jam, because my brother and I would fight over who got more jelly than the other.
I was hoping to pick blackberries this weekend, but so far the rain has put a real damper on my plans.