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.
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. :)
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 (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!)
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. ;)