Saturday, August 22, 2009


When I was a kid we had a huge blackberry bramble in the backyard. Every year, when the berries were ripe, my mom would say something to the effect of: "Do you kids want a pie for dessert?" "Yes! Yes!" "Great. Here's a bucket. Get picking." To this day I equate blackberry pie with scratches up to my elbows and lost pints of blood. But is it worth it? Oh yes.

It was a boring afternoon but pleasantly sunny out so we hopped in the car and drove over to Discovery Park. I'd actually never been there before, but we'd kept an eye open at Golden Gardens and Carkeek and hadn't been wowed by the berry supply. But Discovery did not disappoint. In an hour and a half we picked nearly 8lbs, enough for a good seven pies. And more importantly, more than enough for a beer I've got planned.

There were a few hazards. Not the least of which was the endemic stinging nettle, which, adorably, loves to grow right in and among the berry brambles. You can see a few leaves in the lower right of the photo above. We both got tagged a few times. Fortunately there was also some Sword Fern around to stop the burn. Also, the Orb Weaver spiders were out in force and it's getting toward the end of the Summer, when they get the biggest. They're not particularly bitey, and though they're big and hairy, pretty much harmless. These guys can stretch a web across 20' of open space somehow (magic? Tiny jetpacks?) When I was a teenager I'd be happily (well, unhappily) mowing the lawn and BAM, get one of these tangled right in my face! Ah memories. *shudder*

So we took them home, washed them off, and put them in a layer on some cookie sheets on parchment. Into the freezer until frozen solid, then into gallon bags. Plan is to use 5lbs for a beer, then the rest will either go toward pie, or a Blackberry Melomel. Going to go back soon, there were a lot of green berries too.


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