I went down to the woods to pick blackberries yesterday after spotting some there at the weekend when taking the grandchildren for a walk. We strolled along the boardwalk, our son picking a few blackberries for our granddaughter. She popped them in her mouth and asked for more. There were beautiful ripe blackberries right by the path ready to be picked, but they were still there four days later. Nobody had picked them.
As I slowly made my way through the woods clutching two bowls (yes I was a little over optimistic) it brought back so many memories of my childhood and when my children were little. Blackberry season was when the whole family went out to pick the berries. As soon as you were old enough to hold a bowl you were roped in. First to follow along with a bowl for the picker, then when judged old enough to actually tackle the brambles to pick your own. Finding those that were ripe and maggot free was a skill you soon learned. The favourite place for picking was my uncles farm. We would circle the fields filling bowl after bowl. My cousins would be eating as many as they picked, but not me. I really don't like the seeds, also I remember biting into one before realising it had a maggot in it, I can't get that thought out of my head even now when picking.
When my children were old enough I took them blackberry picking in the lanes surrounding our house. We had to go as soon as the blackberries were ripe or someone would have got to them before us. They would be stored in the freezer to make blackberry pies through the winter.
This season I haven't seen anyone blackberry picking. There are many houses where I now live, but the free nutritious blackberries remain unpicked. How times have changed. The berries were brought home and washed thoroughly taking special care to look out for any little creatures that may be lurking. I made one and a bit jars of jam, which I will eat despite not liking the seeds. I love free food!
Just noticed my spelling, blackerry jam!
I would love to learn more about foraging, as blackberries are the only thing I pick because they are so recognisable I can't go wrong. Despite grandparents and uncles having farms I am a townie. OH grew up on a farm so is more knowledgable about these things, pointing out wild strawberries on our walk last night.
I will leave you with the beautiful sunset from our walk
What 'free food' do you pick?
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