Berries, Berries… Blackberries!

I’m obsessed with finding wild food on my property. It’s exciting when you discover mouth-watering edible plants and berries that you either can’t find or can’t afford in the stores. And you know it isn’t covered in nasty pesticides or modified in some stupid human way. Bonus.

After a walk through the hay field that involved stopping twice two pull ticks off my jeans, I found myself three-quarters of the way to the back of my property, ass-deep in brush, with the sun beating down. I was on a mission, a hunt… I was searching for blackberries.

 

I remember picking blackberries as a kid – walking through the summer fields, breeze blowing through my hair, locusts buzzing in the warm sun, fingers the color of Barney. I inevitably ate as many berries as I picked and probably had the shits for days… *sigh*

This year Mother Nature has been kind with the rain and sun, holding a nice balance between the two. Plants and trees are growing great and the gardens haven’t needed any watering. I’d been wondering how the blackberries were doing under such favorable conditions. Some years here on the farm they grow prefect, some years not so much. I was keeping my fingers crossed.

The plants I found looked like they’ll still need a couple of weeks before I can pick much of anything, but also showed me that a harvest might be worthwhile this year.

Worthwhile? As in… Is it worth stabbing myself on huge thorns and pulling off ticks, only to fight my way through to more plants with more spikes and more ticks, while tearing holes in my clothes and flesh all in the name of fresh, organic and FREE blackberries? Yes. So worth it. Blackberries. Do you know how expensive those things are in the stores? I’m a tightwad- thorns be damned. Opportunities like this absolutely warrant bodily torture.

Later that day as I was looking up Blackberry recipes I came across an old Irish saying I thought I’d share: “On Michaelmas Day, the devil puts his foot on blackberries.”

I wonder if his foot then resembled Barney’s?

Anyway, according to British and Irish superstition, Old Michaelmas Day (the Feast of St. Michael) which falls on October 10th, is the last day when blackberries should be harvested… Why?

Legend has it that this was the day Lucifer himself was banished from heaven, and upon falling from the skies landed on a thorny blackberry bush. He cursed and spit on the fruits, then scorched them with his fiery breath, making them unfit for human consumption. So there you go. But personally I’ve never seen a blackberry on my farm as late as October. I guess I’m safe?

 

So my walk was productive. I managed to get a “teaser” hand-full of berries to keep me enticed enough to go back and battle ticks, dagger-sized thorns and maybe even heat stroke over the next few weekends.  In the meantime, I’ll be searching for blackberry recipes.  Anyone have a good blackberry wine recipe? ~A

 

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