Saturday, August 11, 2007

blackberries (the kind you eat!)




















My berries cluster black and thick

For rich and poor alike to pick.
I’ll tear your dress, and cling, and tease,
And scratch your hand and arms and knees.

I’ll stain your fingers and your face,
And then I’ll laugh at your disgrace.
But when the bramble-jelly’s made,
You’ll find your trouble well repaid.

—THE SONG OF THE BLACKBERRY QUEEN
by Cicely Mary Bar

Wild blackberries are like the ones you buy, but better. ("Wildman" Steve Brill)

The wild blackberries are here! Lots of good grazing on our walks lately.

Here are some blackberry facts and lore:

1. Also known as "black caps" and bramble berries blackberries are a healthy food; packed with anthocyanins!

2. 1 cup of blackberries has about 60 calories.

3. Ancient Greeks believed blackberries to be a cure for diseases of the mouth and throat, as well as a preventative against many ailments, including gout. Its bushes were also thought to magically cure whooping cough. Blackberry tea was said to be a cure for dysentery during the Civil War

4. The blackberry leaf was used as an early hair dye, having been recommended by Culpeper, the English herbalist, to be boiled in a lye solution in order to "maketh the hair black".

5. The blackberry is also the symbol of envy, lowliness, and remorse. This is because its thorns can catch you, trip you up, and hold on to you.

Blackberry bushes and other brambles can take over a habitat and choke out other plants, the way a greedy person may try to take things from others. So people in Shakespeare's day called lawyers bramble bushes, because they grab on to you and don't let go until they've drawn blood.
- from "Wildman" Steve Brill


Blackberry picking (and eating) tips:

1. Select plump, firm, fully black berries. Unripe berries will not ripen once picked. A ripe blackberry is deep black with a plump, full feel. It will pull free from the plant with only a slight tug. If the berry is red or purple, it's not ripe yet.

2. Keep picked berries out of the sun and cool as soon as possible.

3. Wash just before using.

4. Blackberries keep in the fridge for one week max.

5. Blackberries are freezable. Freezing instructions here.

6. Try blackberries in a cobbler.

7. Or make them into Bramble Jelly.

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When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. - Psalm 104:28

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Blackberry facts, lore and tips gleaned from:

PickYourOwn.org

"Wildman" Steve Brill - more lore on his blackberry page

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