Appalachian Medicine Gardening Music

The Blackberry

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 57 2

Blackberry picking time is almost here-the berries are still green on the brambles around my house-but before long they’ll be turning that luscious deep dark black color.

Folklore surrounding Blackberries I’ve heard all my life…

Blackberry Winter– a cold snap occurs each spring about the same time the Blackberry Blossoms appear. Happened this spring just like it always does. (kinda like our Dogwood Winter) Medicinal Remedies– Blackberries or Blackberry juice is supposed to help any kind of stomach aliment-diarrhea, dysentery, ulcers. The roots and leaves of the Blackberry are used to make a tea which is said to relieve sore throats, thrush in babies, mouth ulcers and gum irritations.

This morning I Googled Blackberry and found the following info-which totally surprised me.

*Blackberry is often called Bramble in other countries

*Blackberry briars are thought to protect your house from evil-especially from Vampires. Seems if you put the briars around your doors and windows-the Vampires can’t cross over without first counting all the briars-which if your familiar with Blackberries, you know is almost impossible. (makes me wonder if the idea for The Count on Sesame Street came from this piece of folklore.)

*Native Americans used Blackberry stems to make rope/twine.

*Some folks think the Crown of Thorns was made from Blackberry Briars-and the berry itself is so dark to symbolize Christ’s Blood.

*Some folks think when the Devil was cast from heaven-he fell into a Blackberry patch and therefore the fruit is cursed-and it’s black because the Devil spit on it.

The eating is what I enjoy most about Blackberries-but coming in a close second is hearing them. Yes, I said hearing them-give this week’s Pickin’ & Grinnin’ In The Kitchen Spot a listen and you’ll see exactly what I mean-the tune-Blackberry Blossom-is so catchy you’ll find yourself humming it for the rest of the day. (don’t forget to stop the player in the top right corner of this page)

Hope you enjoyed the Blackberry lore-and the outstanding picking by Paul and Mandolin Man.

Do you like Blackberries?


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  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 10, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Hey, great song and a smile we got a smile! He’s cute when he smiles!!
    I remember going the the blackberry patch when I was young. We frequently saw terrapins in the blackberry patch. We were always warned to watch for snakes and of course the salt water bath to kill chiggers after a trip to the patch.
    My grandmother always had quarts of canned blackberries in the cellar. They we medicinal. Eat the berries for constipation. If you had diarrhea the berries were strained out and you drank the juice.
    My current favorite for blackberries is jelly, specifically your jelly, hint, hint.
    My grandmother also made killer blackberry cobbler!!
    You bring back lots of memories.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Mmmmm……we love blackberries around here and a darn good thing, since they grow everywhere and there’s no getting rid of them even if you wanted to. They tend to take over, and we call them blackberry brambles. Your season is WAAAAY earlier than ours, we just now have blossoms and won’t be picking until late July or August.

  • Reply
    Beth W.
    June 7, 2009 at 9:52 am

    So THAT’S why we don’t have any vampires around here!
    My chocolate lab, Maggie, loves blackberries. She pulls her lips back to avoid the briars, and takes the best berries. If I am going to do any serious picking, I have to leave that girl at home.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2009 at 8:08 am

    I loved Paul and Mandolin Man’s version of “Blackberry Blossom.” They are so gifted.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2009 at 8:05 am

    My mom’s blackberry cobbler was the best I can ever remembering eating. My grandmother used to make “Blackberry Dumplings.” I have never heard of anyone ever making Blackberry Dumplings, but Grandma did. It almost tasted like blackberry pie. Grandma also made Strawberry dumpling. I don’t have her recipe, so I made one of my own. My son loves strawberry dumplings.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Very interesting lore. I can taste the cobbler now..Yummy

  • Reply
    June 6, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I’ve not heard that song before. You can bet that I’ll be humming it while I’m picking blackberries here on the farm. There is a huge patch on the other side of our fence. They are beginning to ripen.
    Interesting bit of history and folklore there, too.
    I have heard it said that blackberries are lethal to an infant.
    Actually, I have an Aunt that died as an infant and it is believed to be due to the juice of a blackberry.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2009 at 7:30 am

    I’ve already had blackberries this year. Last year I stumbled on a patch on our property that was three weeks earlier than the other patches..JACKPOT!!!!!
    And it was this year too.
    Before my daughter could talk I was stuffing blackberries in her. Coming in and out of the driveway I’d stop and get her a few. When she was done her little purple hand would poke me in the arm for more.
    She spied the early patch this year. She was jumping around in her booster seat. Needless to say we went to her Dr.s Appt with purple fingers.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    June 5, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Now you know my favorite thing is the ‘spider frettin’. 🙂 Please thank the guys for the great tune. I was just tapping my toes the whole time with a big smile on my face.
    Love blackberries. Fat and sweet. Can’t wait for our Farmer’s Market under the Expressway to start selling them. I eat them by the handfulls or have a little vanilla ice cream with them. So good! Thanks for sharing the info on their lore. xxoo

  • Reply
    fishing guy
    June 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I love balckberries – just picked – jam – pie, one of my favorite fruits.

  • Reply
    Caution Flag
    June 5, 2009 at 11:28 am

    So are blackberries and brambleberries the same thing?
    I love, love, love your blog!

  • Reply
    June 5, 2009 at 4:18 am

    i love blackberry blossom. i was utubing banjo stuff and i saw this guy pickin it and i made mark sit down and learn it that night…i love it
    I would like to plant some blackberries in with my raspberries. or black raspberries are pretty darn good too.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    I love blackberrys and blackberry pie. I remember one time a friend and I were eating blackberries right off the vine. We noticed they tasted funny and the leaves didn’t look very healthy, but as the silly girls we were we kept on eating them. Later we learned they had been sprayed with poison, thankfuly we are all right, I think.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    June 4, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    yum yum blackberries are wonderful! Tell the boys good pickin too.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    That surely was a toe-tappin tune! I was glad to see Mandolin Man grin at the end, too. He should do it more often.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    There is a place where the black berries grow around the lake we live at. When my wife and I go for a walk we usually come home with some.
    I do very much enjoy your music. Fits right in with my mood most days.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    That was some great picking. I couldn’t tell if they were grinning or not. I love Blackberries. I like ‘um fresh off the vine, in jelly, jam, and cobbler. I’m hungry now. Pappy

  • Reply
    June 4, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Loved the blackberry lore. I think you know what my answer to your question is. Do I like blackberries? – I love blackberries. I love cobblers, jam and crumbles and pies. They are also good on ice cream and in milk shakes.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    When I was a child we had a huge bunch of blackberry vines on a hill. I was the designated picker of berries in late July. I’d pick the berries under the watchful eye of our wire fox terrier, Perky. Mom made freezer jam every summer from what the picker didn’t eat while harvesting. I still love blackberries but buy them from a store and make freezer jam every year.

  • Reply
    The Hunter's Wife
    June 4, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks for the visit.
    I love blackberries. We just planted strawberries for the first time in our garden. I’m hoping we have success.

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    June 4, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I love blackberries, the blossom and the purple fruit.
    I especially love the taste of blackberry cobbler. I make it the way my mother made it and the way her mother made it.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    June 4, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Yum! BB jelly is one of my favorites 🙂 Great song!

  • Reply
    Patty H
    June 4, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Great music, as always.
    Yes, I love blackberries. I remember blackberry pickin with my mom and our dog Sally. We’d go thru the cow pasture, along the creek banks, watching for snakes along the way. Our fingers would be stained from the juices and pricked by the thorns but it was all worth it when we’d sit down to a blackberry pie made in a castiron pan. Yummy!!
    lol! wonder how some of this folklore originated.
    Patty H.

  • Reply
    Brenda S 'Okie in Colorado'
    June 4, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Loved the Blackberry Blossom music! I love blackberries. My Grandmother would always pick them and we would have fresh berries and cream. She was always afraid of snakes, but the love of blackberries always won over the fear.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I have heard the Blackberry Blossom tune many times before but never knew what it was called.
    Blackberries used to grow along the fence rows of Grandpa’s farm. We always had such fun picking them in long-sleeved shirts so the brambles didnt’ tear up our arms.
    Thimble berries also grew there. They look the same as blackberries but are much larger and taste a little different.
    I love blackberries and thimbleberries. Have you ever tasted blackberry pie? Blackberry cobbler is also delicious.
    Enjoyed the tune and the blackberry lore.

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    June 4, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    I love blackberries! By the way, I got my seeds yesterday. I can’t wait till time to plant!

  • Reply
    Farm Chick Paula
    June 4, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I can’t wait- ours are about to come in- the blooms fell off last week. I can almost taste a good cobbler now!
    I’m going to try making jelly this year if I have enough. Hubby cleaned out our fencerows, and I’m afriad he tore alot of the blackberry bushes down too! (Rats)

  • Reply
    June 4, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I’m so addicted to my BlackBerry (the phone), that I almost forgot about the fruit! Now I’m hungry. Thanks for the post!

  • Reply
    noble pig
    June 4, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Hey I posted blackberry muffins today! Good timing!

  • Reply
    June 4, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Thank you for posting the “Blackberry Blossom” music – I love it!
    And we do love blackberries here at the Zen house. In fact, my husband usually asks me to fix him a blackberry cobbler for his birthday instead of a birthday cake. His birthday is in December, so I always have to make sure I have a quart or two of the summer’s blackberries reserved just for that purpose.
    Last year he wouldn’t let me enter any blackberry jelly in the fair because he was afraid somebody would get it, and that would leave one less jar for him to eat!

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    June 4, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I love your photos and posting on blackberries. This is just wonderful. Your blog is great and I always enjoy visiting it and listening to the fantastic music. Keep up the great work!

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