Blackberry Picking Tips & Recipes
This is the time of year you’ll find me sneaking off to pick blackberries near our house! I’m more inclined to pick in a few short sessions versus an all day marathon. I find it’s less overwhelming – both in terms of my effort and processing the berries afterwards!
Last week, my son and I decided to pick blackberries for exactly an hour and then measure our results afterwards. Going forward, I could begin to determine about how long I’d need to pick given the amount of berries I’d want. The results surprised me!
All told, we picked roughly 12 cups of blackberries in one hour! That seems crazy good to me. Here’s a cost breakdown:
One small container of berries (8 oz) sold at the store = 1 cup
A “good” price would be about $2.50 per container
12 cups = $30!
In my opinion, that is totally worth an hour of my time! I bet you’re curious to know what we did with those berries, too. Well, the first thing we did was soak them in water that I added a fair amount of salt to for about 10-15 minutes. I’ve read multiple places that this helps “draw out” any little worms or bugs inside the berries. After that, I rinsed the berries a couple times for good measure.
My son begged for homemade blackberry ice cream, I wanted to infuse some blackberry vodka, and I wanted to freeze a bunch for our smoothies. We had plenty to do all of those things!
If you are curious to know how we made the ice cream, check out the recipe I shared on the blog last year for Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream. All I did was substitute 4 cups of blackberries for blueberries. You could really use any berry you wish in this recipe or even a mix of different berries. The result is absolutely delicious! If you have leftover ice cream, you can throw some in the blender with milk for an amazing milkshake!
I am excited to be making blackberry vodka again: it’s so good and easy to make! I wrote about this on my post last year, Homemade Blackberry Vodka. The only thing I’m doing differently this time is NOT adding sugar while it’s infusing. Once the vodka has been strained, I will mix in a simple syrup at that time.
The rest of the berries got frozen. I find the best way to do this is to freeze them on a baking sheet first (I lined mine with a non-stick liner).
One pan’s worth yielded a quart-size full of frozen blackberries! I am hoping to go on two more hour-long outings so I can freeze more berries, make another batch of blackberry vodka and try my hand at blackberry vinaigrette.
If you are new to blackberry picking, I do have a few tips for you:
- Make sure the area you are picking has not been sprayed with pesticides! Be suspicious of any berries right on the side of the road or sidewalks.
- Wear long sleeves, pants, and covered shoes. One year I made the mistake of picking in flip flops and was rewarded with a thorn which is still embedded in my ankle!
- If picking in rural areas, watch for bears. This isn’t something I need to worry about in my neck of the woods, but it may be something to consider depending where you are picking.
- Pick what you can use. It can be easy to go nuts and pick buckets and buckets of berries, but make sure you have a plan for what you’re picking so it doesn’t go to waste.
- Wash the berries just before cooking/preserving. Washing the berries will soften them and hasten their spoilage. If you don’t plan on handling your berries right away, just refrigerate them.
I’d love to hear any tips or recipes ideas you have for blackberries! You might also be interested in some of these related posts:
- Charlotte’s Blueberry Park (Tacoma, WA): Free Source of Blueberries
- Raspberry Streusel Muffins
- Strawberry Picking and Homemade Strawberry Vanilla Jam
- Tayberry Hand Pies Recipe
- Wild Blackberry Picking & Preserving
- Homemade Blackberry Vodka
- Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream