Blackberries fill my freezer (and the best blackberry coffee cake recipe)

If you look in my freezer right now, you'll see a whole lot of salmon fillets and gallons of blackberries. Salmon and blackberries... foods that will always shout "Pacific Northwest!" to me! Our summer finally warmed up and we had a month of the perfectest weather possible. Clear, sunny days with highs in the 70's... and handfuls, literally handfuls, of juicy wild blackberries.

Fresh blackberries!
A couple of the biggest blackberries Joshua picked this evening

These guys are huge, and will fill a small bucket in no time at all. They're also growing everywhere here in Western Washington. We've found several great picking spots within a short walk of our house.

My favorite spot isn't the one at the end of our driveway (too close to the road with an 18-month-old runaway), but the one at the park down the road. The children play, run, and visit with the goat kids that live right beside the park while I pick blackberries... and pick blackberries... and pick blackberries from the (what I thought was a) SMALL blackberry patch there. :)

Bucket for berry picking

The easiest berry picking is with a bucket and string. I used a few old (clean) shoelaces and cut slits in the sides of empty sour cream or yogurt containers so we'd each have a bucket for picking.

Yehoshua and his bucket, ready to pick blackberries
Yehoshua (7) ready to pick berries :)

Also useful is a grabber of some sort. You know those high-up bunches that are so huge and ripe and get the most sun but no one can reach them? They MUST be gotten. ;) A friend suggested using a long stick with a nail half-way pounded in at the end to help maneuver the canes.

At any rate, something to reach or pull with that doesn't involve skin is really great because those branches just don't like to let go. At all. My parents were here from Ohio last week, and remarked on the size of the blackberries... and the tenacity of the prickles (they're not technically thorns... I just learned this today).

When my parents were here, we tried to make their food experience as PNW-ish as possible. ;) The first evening, Joshua grilled tuna steaks. (I didn't take pictures, but let me just say that leftover grilled tuna steaks takes a tuna melt to a whole new level!)

The next morning for breakfast, I made some fresh blackberry syrup with whole wheat pancakes. For dinner that night, Joshua grilled salmon on cedar planks.

Later in the week, I made blackberry coffee cake with more of the berries. Joshua's freshly made vanilla ice cream went perfect with the blackberry coffee cake!

And believe it or not, blackberry season is still going. I think our freezer can hold a few more gallons, if I take the time to pick them. And it's free food, so I may as well! This is, after all, the only time of year when blackberries are not (as much of) a pesky weed here. ;)


Miss them, my father lives in Victoria (canada) and we'd enjoy those lovely blackberries whenever I was there in the late summer. My step-mother sends me jars of blackberry jam every year for christmas. Sooo good. I have 4 gallons of wild northern ontario blueberries in my (small fridge) freezer, and would have more if I could get back up north to pick more! Wild berries through the winter is like a bite of summer, Free food is fun, and picking berries soo peacefull. Enjoy the rest of the warmer season : )

Use a pair of dishwashing gloves with the tips cut out to pick, and you wont have arms full of thorn scratches! Your berries are HUGE!! i'm so jealous.

I am sooo happy to hear that you are enjoying those berries! I remember living in Washington (for a few years) and picking them as a child. One time my dad had us pick a whole ice chest full, and we gave them to friends. Now, I live in Southern California, and still miss those berries. There is nothing in any store that can compare.

Of course, I also travelled to Southwestern Pennsylvania to visit my grandparents and picked those blackberries with my grandmother. She made the best pies, jams, and jellies!

That's why my email address is blackberry92325!

Lovely black berries!! I so glad you have been enjoying perfect weather too. :)

This summer, I also used blackberries in the same recipe. :D Such a fast and delicious recipe to make with just about any fruit!

~Tanya - mama to 6 treasures plus one on the way. :)

I love blackberries and any other wild fruits. Earlier in the season I picked black raspberries which are even better than the blackberries (although I love blackberries too), then the blackberries end of July and mid August here and now the wild grapes. There are tons of them. Later I will be picking crabapples.

I make tons of syrup from these fruits and then we eat it with pancakes or waffles or pour over ice cream. Also, we add a few tablespoons of the syrup to a glass of plain water to make a fruit drink. It is really good.

Crabapple liqueur is about the best alcoholic drink I have ever had. It is made with vodka and the color is unbelievable from the red crabapples.

And the best part of all this wild fruit foraging is that it is free and these taste so much better than the fruit in the stores.


does anyone know why some blackberries turn red after freezing them?

My guess is that the liquid inside the berries gets ice crystals or something when it freezes which makes it appear lighter in color... we noticed that just-barely-ripe blackberries turned reddish when we froze them, but the really super ripe and black ones stayed pretty dark when they were frozen. :)

(Joshua would probably have a more scientific explanation for why they turned red after freezing... that above was just my speculation.) ;)

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