Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Blackberries: Some like 'em wild
I love blackberries but not the kind you get in the grocery store. I love the old-fashioned blackberries that still grow wild on the sides of southern country roads, along fences and anywhere they are allowed to grow. They are smaller than the cultivated kind and the seeds are much smaller. I think the wild ones are also meaner than the cultivated berries because getting them off the vine comes with a struggle. Sometimes you win and often the vines scratch seriously enough to draw blood -- but the flavor cannot be equaled.
We always had blackberries during the summer because it was one of our summer tasks. We would all get a small pail and take off into the woods and along the roadsides and come back with wild blackberries that went into to the most delicious pies you can imagine. If it was a very good year we even had blackberry jam. There was nothing better. I don't think we ever had a 4th of July celebration without a blackberry cobbler.
One summer, our great-aunt Lela came from LaGrange to stay for awhile and decided she wanted to take all us girls berry picking. It was a very memorable experience because we got so lost that day. We came back with blackberries but walked so far and were so tired. We were very glad to see our father driving down the unfamiliar road frantically searching for us. I think it unnerved our aunt and if we hadn't been discovered, we would have been really scared. We came away from that adventure with memories, blackberry bramble scratches, red bug bites and enough blackberries for my mother's famous pie.
This year, being a non-drought year for us in Georgia, it means there are more wild blackberries. Right now I am picking blackberries because we MUST have a pie. I will update you when I have enough to make a good one.