cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Blackberries - Mûres

I've spoken of berries before; how sniper-like reflexes are paramount features in the race for their harvest. The competition: birds {unless one considers the retired island population of baking grannies with their copper picking pots as threats...come to think of it, they are quite ruthless.} In a previous post I noted my failure to preempt the salmon berry season and vowed to conquer the ensuing Blackberry at the close of summer. Summer is closing. And the blackberries: raped. August is gone; the sun's rays spent and trapped in a thousand plump purple berries that burst upon the slightest touch. Here me world; for I have beat the birds {and grannies.} Four buckets in under an hour. Give credit where it is due; K the fearless hunter gatherer braved stinging nettles and sticky leaves to help bolster my bulging baskets of berries. Berry picking is heavy labor; dirty and dangerous. I pricked my finger, stained my nails, and won a pretty prickly bracelet of nettle bumps. As such why am I still in want of a purple heart. Woe was our struggle; though the fruit of our toilsome labor made the perilous worth the risks. Our voyage yielded a bounty of preserves: 8 jars of Blackberry Mango Jam and 6 jars of Blackberry Jam, with just enough in reserve for a little ol pie. And no I did not accomplish said feat alone--I had singing woodland creatures as my sous chefs.

A few years ago I was at dinner with a visiting friend from LA and his mother and the subject of blackberries arose. Apparently mom had no recollection of acquaintance with the berry, aside of course from the cellular device. Euyh. She claimed blackberries a foreign commodity to Southern Californians. Humorous I thought, though to have never heard or tasted of one seemed unlikely to the extent of impossible. Coconuts are foreign to the Pacific Northwest. I will astound you now with the revelation that I have indeed not only heard, but have yes even tasted of the fruit. As such I arrived at the resolution that she was in fact familiar with the fruit, but by another name. Bramble berry is quite common, as is black cap. No luck. This invasive weed found in nearly every corner of the globe in locations such as New Zealand, Chile, Canada, and Scotland, was actually a foreign specimen to this woman. Bizarre. It shall be a goal of mine, therefore, to make the blackberry weed a product known world-wide. What's that you say? It already is? Hmmm, yes I thought so. One soul at a time. In the meantime, blackberries and mangoes marry well, though oftentimes the purer form is an overlooked beauty.

Blackberry Mango Jam
  • 4 cups mashed blackberries
  • 3 cups chopped mango
  • 1&3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp pectin (plus calcium water)
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
Blackberry Pie
Too simple to make a list. Aside from two crusts, the filling is merely the berries seeped in a pinch of sugar, cinnamon, flour, and pear syrup. Simple. We are doing this for the blackberries my friend. As it is September, leaves are more than appropriate decorations for the crown.

The riddle comes to this: take advantage of local bounty. Blackberries are northwest weeds that choke and destroy pretty primped rockeries. They are old news and overlooked by the vast majority. Que, if any, to squander the market. There is something even more self satisfying than wearing a sweater of ones own knit {god help those poor souls} and that is harvesting and canning a product from start to finish. Hell bake bread to spread it on just for the concept. But leave out the whole grain so as to eliminate the appearance of granola hippie. That we do not want. For good measure sprinkle the pie with a bit of Splenda.

A bientôt


Ryan said...

Sorry for hogging your comments, but what type of flower is that? It looks like a Iris? We have wild blackberries... I know what you mean about the birds lol. I think they go for our cherry trees more, but it's a toss up.

Mallory Elise said...

it is some type of Asian lily. It was in the yard when i was setting up my photo shoot for the pie. thats what i was aiming at...that everyone has weedy blackberries!