Did you know that there is an abundant, FREE source of good, wholesome food right here in the Pacific Northwest?
Yes it’s true! You can pick wild blackberries this time of year! I am lucky enough to live near a few greenbelts that have many, many of these bushes. Yesterday morning, I decided to check to see if I could find any ripe ones. The patches that were in the sunniest patches did not disappoint, but the good news is that there are still many unripe berries on the bushes which means we may be at the very start of blackberry season.
Now I’ve only ever picked berries here and there for a quick snack, but never gone out for some serious wild blackberry picking. That is, until yesterday! Here are some things you’ll need if you wish to do this:
- Long jeans or thick pants! (I got “stuck” several times and shorts would’ve been far too painful.)
- Closed-toes sneakers or hiking boots
- Sunscreen & hat
- Possible, lightweight long sleeved shirt (I wore a tank-top and got a bit scratched up)
- Bucket for collecting berries
- Small step-stool or a tall friend for gathering the berries up high (optional)
The patch I picked from was far off the road, so I wasn’t too worried about heavy areas of pollution or pesticides. If you’re looking to pick in an area that looks like the vegetation around it has been sprayed, might want to go elsewhere! Also take care of bees and wasps, which may like to make their nests in the bushes. In my area, we have coyotes, rabbits, squirrels, and birds – but in some areas bears might be a real issue! Take care.
All told I spent about an hour picking blackberries. It was rather delightful – a chance to just be out by myself in the sun and enjoy the quiet.
Here’s my haul:
I can’t even begin to guess what this same amount would cost to purchase in the store! And talk about “going local” – these came not even half a mile away from my front door! I estimate I picked roughly 12 cups’ worth.
Here’s what I made:
3 pints of blackberry jam (plus another 1/2 pint is currently chillin’ in my fridge)
2 quart-size freezer bags for smoothies! These can be so spendy to buy frozen at the store. Why do that when I can pick my own?
Blackberry ice cubes: I took the leftover pulp and seeds from my jam and made ice cubes. These will either be used as garnish in fancy drinks (sangria anyone?) or just popped into the Vitamix.
We even had a few leftover for snacks and cereal topping:
I’m already planning to go picking again next weekend for more blackberries! I would love to make some more blackberry jam, freeze more for smoothies, make my own blackberry-infused vodka (HELLO?!), and my son is insisting on a blackberry pie!
Have you done any blackberry picking yet? Thinking about it? Have any other ideas of how you would use blackberries?