Rolling in the Blackberries

Blackberries ripening

Blackberries ripening

Blackberry Deluge

It is late July and August and that means plump juicy blackberries are ready and waiting. I am looking for ways to use them as I pick about a quart a day and we can’t eat them fast enough. I will freeze some but I love to use them fresh and they are classified as a “superfood”, full of antioxidants and other good stuff. I use them as a garnish for green salads,  a topping for yogurt and granola, pies, jam, and cobblers.

Culture

Blackberries starting to ripen

Blackberries starting to ripen

If you have never grown blackberries, this is one of the easiest and most satisfying berry to grow. I started with one “cane” or stem of a thornless blackberry variety some years ago and it can grow to be one ginormous mass of a plant unless you train it to a trellis.  The tips of the canes will root in and produce more progeny to start more plants and you can end up with a field of blackberries.

Blackberry canes will tip root into the soil to make new plants

Blackberry canes will tip root into the soil to make new plants

One day of picking!

One day of picking!

For trellising, I found that cattle fence was the perfect candidate by being both sturdy and cheap. Trained canes out-produce untrained ones in spades.  And because trained ones fan out on the fence, you can pick from both sides and reach your hand through the cattle fence if you spot one nestled on the opposite side. Three sturdy metal fence posts support the 10 foot piece of cattle fence.  Tractor Supply is a great source for this type of fencing.

Blackberries trained on cattle fence

Blackberries trained on cattle fence

Planting foot high suckers in early spring alongside the cattle fence about every foot or so produced a wall of blackberries a couple of months later. These are quick off the mark berries! They took off running and covered the fence completely and flowered and set fruit. Planted in partial shade next to two pine stumps. The speed at which the canes produced surprised me. The only maintenance was a pine straw mulch and tying the canes to the fence. I didn’t bother to water or fertilize.  Blueberries in contrast take at least 5  years to amount to anything and you have to acidify the soil, fertilize, etc. and pick them for hours. So, ease of maintenance of these vitamin packed blackberries converted me to a true believer.

Picking Is So Easy

Picked berries ready to go

Picked berries ready to go

Picking is a snap as they slip right off the cane, are easy to spot, and with trellising, the berries are at eye level. The berries fill a bowl up quickly and I just rinse them off before use. Other berries, such as strawberries, you have to crouch down and lift leaves to spot the berries, as well as capping the berry before eating- a lot more work!

Sorbet is one of my favorite hot weather desserts so I decided to try making it with my favorite berry. Blackberry Sorbet was delicious and it used two pounds of berries. Here is the recipe:

001

Blackberry Sorbet

2 C water

2 1/2 C granulated sugar

2 Pounds of blackberries (about 8 cups)

4 T lime juice

4 T Creme de Cassis liquor (optional, this is a black currant liquor which added a nice zing)

Heat up the water and add sugar and stir until dissolved. Place saucepan in fridge to chill. Process the blackberries into a puree in a food processor. Add this puree to the chilled sugar syrup and then strain the entire mixture through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. You need to press the mixture through with a wooden spoon until you get as much liquid through the sieve as you can. You will end up with a slurry of seeds which you can discard in your compost or feed the chickens.

Add the lime juice and the cassis to the mixture and place the mixture in the fridge with plastic wrap on the top to chill for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Once thoroughly chilled, transfer the mixture to your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. It took about 30 minutes for the mixture to make sorbet in my ice cream maker. If you don’t have enough blackberries, you could halve this recipe. This recipe makes almost 8 cups of sorbet, enough for desserts for a week.

028

Make your sugar syrup

025

Weigh or measure your berries

032

Process berries into a puree

039

Add chilled sugar syrup to puree with seeds

031

Squeeze lime

033

Measure crème de cassis along with lime juice

041

Add juice and cassis to mixture and press through sieve

044

Chill strained puree for at least 6 hours

Freeze in your ice cream maker and enjoy!

Freeze in your ice cream maker and enjoy!

About thegardendiaries

Claire Jones is a landscape and floral designer and owner of Claire Jones Landscapes, LLC. She designs and helps people to create their own personal outdoor oasis and loves to write about her gardening failures and successes.
This entry was posted in Cooking in the garden, Edible plants, gardening, vegetable gardening and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Rolling in the Blackberries

  1. Julie Kemp says:

    I wish I had an ice cream maker so I could try the yummy looking Sorbet. I have a bumper crop this year, too. I’ve picked lots, and made cobblers galore for several gatherings, let a neighbor pick 8 pounds to make gallons of blackberry wine, and frozen several 4 cup bagfulls ( freeze washed berries on jelly roll pan lined with paper towel, then measure desired amount into freezer bags.) It’s more fun to make jam in the fall. Berries are still plentiful so I’m calling friends the rest of the week. Enjoy!

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  2. Fresh berries – it just doesn’t get any better. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda T says:

    As usual, very interesting. Love this time of year and love reading your blog. Thanks Claire.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I will have to remember this recipe when our wild blackberries ripen next month – they have thorns, but we have sooo many, I can’t bring myself to plant tame ones for fear of letting the wild ones go to waste out of laziness!! My favourite jelly is crabapple-blackberry as well as blackberry vinaigrette on arugula salad with some free berries, nuts and goat cheese….mmmmm….

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  5. I love blackberries and they do grow wild behind the house but don’t get enough sun to make good berries. I have gone to pick them where they do get sun. Those are a sure sign of summer. Thanks for the recipe.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I love your blog. I have really enjoyed the wonderful blackberries this year. They have been abundant. My problem is that they stopped producing a week ago and other friends of mine said that theirs are still going strong. Any ideas?

    Like

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