I was one pooped puppy on Monday because the much anticipated annual Go Pick Blackberries at Greg and Terese's House Day took place on Sunday. And it was awesome.
Anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest knows that blackberry bushes run rampant in the wild around here. Why? The story I heard twenty years ago goes like this: apparently about a hundred years ago or so, immigrants from Europe brought with them a few blackberry bushes. And since that particular variety of blackberries had no natural predators, they went wacko and continue take over anywhere they get a little patch of soil.
Greg and Terese own a nice piece of land and they do a good job of keeping those pesky vines under control - except for one patch that Greg very thoughtfully lets grow just so his buddies can go pick 'em. He and Terese actually don't care for the things - they say that this wild variety is too seedy. Isn't it nice of them to grow a patch just for John and I and Susan and Dave and Naomi and John?
I don't mind the seeds at all. Guess I'm an unrefined blackberry eater.
What a gorgeous August day.
See Greg on his tractor? What would we need a tractor for to pick berries, you ask?
Because these bushes are enormous. But we've worked out a foolproof method of getting to the top for the sweetest, biggest, and juiciest berries. Greg loads the pickers into the bucket of his tractor, and motors around until those delectable beauties are within arm's reach. If you are the picker, you have to be careful not to lean too far forward. Tumbling headfirst into those vicious thorns would be a very bad thing.
We drive our SUV out into the field to tote back all of our yummy purple booty.
John did the lion's share of the picking for our family. I called it quits after I caught my leg brace in a big bad bush, which made me fall squarely on my butt onto yet another very prickly vine. Good grief. Fortunately, the only thing seriously injured was my pride but after picking prickles out of my leg and backside, I was done. And determined to do photo documentation of the event instead.
This year Skippy-do joined us. He had a blast romping around for the afternoon.
He figured out how to pick and eat blackberries all by himself in about five minutes, that smart little boy.
Usually I take our berries and immediately place them into golden flaky pie crust. Mmmmmm. But this year, I decided to try something different. On one of our dinner outings earlier this summer, I had the good fortune to taste a fresh blackberry martini.
It was so incredibly good that I resolved to figure out how to make those delectable adult beverages at home. So after lugging the berries into the house, I set about making fresh blackberry puree.
I dumped them into my food mill and squished the juice out of the fruit, then discarded the seeds and berry leftovers. It was a labor-intensive and very messy job.
Good thing I wore an apron.
Yes. Those are indeed blackberries ON MY KITCHEN CEILING. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that.
I brought the puree, some sugar, and a bit of water to a boil, then poured it into quart sized freezer containers. Which yielded one whole gallon of blackberry deliciousness tucked into my freezer.
Will the whole gallon be spent on martini research and development? Doubtful. I'm guessing the rest would be tasty in or on just about anything. Like maybe blackberry lemonade......