I've spent several days this month foraging for blackberries. I enjoy the whole blackberry process. But. Not everyone does. Maybe, they don't know the tips that can make picking enjoyable. I'm going to share a few of my favorite tips.
Blackberry Picking Tips:
- Dress Appropriately - Blackberries are THORNY! That means long pants and sturdy shoes (no shorts and flip-flops for this task!). Even though blackberries are usually ripe in August (which is usually HOT!), you might also want to think about long-sleeves and gloves. Blackberries will also dye whatever you wear PURPLE, so, that should also be a consideration....dark colors/work-type clothing.
- Pick in the Morning - I've already mentioned it's HOT in August, so, to beat the heat, morning picking might be best.
- Find the Best Berries - Usually around a water source (creek, river, pond or lake). It just makes sense that the best/biggest berries will have a good water source at their roots. I've also found that berries that are not baking in the sun all day (especially during high temperatures) and have a shade source from neighboring trees/shrubs produce a bigger, better berry. It also makes picking much more "bearable".
- Bring the Right "Tools" - Of course, a berry-picking bucket with a handle is a must. You might also consider a small step-stool or a wide piece of wood thrown onto the bushes will get you a little more height to get those larger berries that seem to be "just out of your reach". A long-handled grabber-type tool to bring the vines down to you would also be handy (ask me how many times I wished I had thought of this....). Make sure your tools are light-weight (especially if you have to carry long-distances). When you get your buckets back to your vehicle a storage container or ice chest is a good idea for the transport home.
- Know Where You're Picking - There are lots of areas to pick blackberries that are open to public access....hiking trails, parks, forests, etc. BUT. Make sure you know where you are picking is public access. You don't want to be on private property without permission!
- "BEST EVER" Blackberry Cobbler from The Pioneer Woman. I have a confession though, I use double the amount of blackberries than the recipe calls for because I really, REALLY like blackberries more than the cobbler part (although the cobbler is AMAZING!!!).
- Blackberry Lemonade from Paint Chips and Frosting. Doesn't this sound refreshing on a summer day?
- Easy Homemade Blackberry Jam from My Frugal Adventures. YUM!
- Blackberry Margaritas from The Pioneer Woman/. How can you go wrong with a Margarita?
- Easy Blackberry Ice Cream from The View From Great Island. Ice cream and summer....perfect!
For me, I'm going to freeze my blackberries to use at a later date. Here's how I freeze the berries.....
After giving the berries a good, gentle wash, spread the berries out onto a cookie sheet in a single layer....
Stick into the freezer for a couple of hours until the berries are firm.
Transfer frozen berries to freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible, label and date. Return to freezer until ready to use (within 6 months). In the "dead of winter" you'll be able to have that little taste of summer! I can hardly wait for winter to get here now!!
Happy Blackberry Foraging!