Saturday, August 29, 2009

Purple Fingers

We picked two gallons of blackberries yesterday. I have to admit picking blackberries is one of my favorite things to do. They are juicy, abundant and so available all over the Pacific Northwest. Everywhere you look you can see the vines and canes trailing and weaving themselves into impenetrable thickets. Some think of them as invasive and troublesome but I look for them everywhere and am always happy to see them.

My neighbor who is an excellent from scratch cook brought us over a couple of pieces of blackberry apple pie last evening. It was a fitting dessert to end a fine day. Even Mister T my little dachshund had a few bites and was smiling.

For the next couple of weeks I will have purple fingers. The juice from the berries is difficult to get out of my cuticles but I don’t mind at all. I always have my picking supplies in the car and stop when I see an especially good batch on the rural roads where thickets and brambles grow. I do not pick on busy roads to avoid pesticides and heavy metals and will walk along the edge of a field to pick. My pruning shears are such a big help to cut my way into the hedge and cut back some of the canes and prickly leaves. The thorns are very sharp and it seems I always come away with some scratches and snags in my clothing. Why is it that the biggest juiciest berries always seem to be beyond reach?

My favorite blackberry dessert is my version of blackberry cobbler. I use a Pyrex deep baking dish. Four cups of berries are mixed with a third of a cup of brown sugar or Splendid (amount of sugar will depend on how sweet the berries are). Top off with a few dots of butter. Then in a separate bowl mix one cup of oatmeal, one tablespoon of flour, one quarter cup of brown sugar and melted butter into a crumbly topping. Spread the topping on top of the berries and bake uncovered for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. I like the taste of the oatmeal and will often have some for breakfast the next morning.

No comments: