Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bevy of Blackberries

When we were out for our walk last weekend, I noticed that our field was loaded with ripe blackberries. I thought to myself, "Self, you've got to take advantage of this." Picking berries in the hot sun is not my idea of a good time, so I made a plan to go out right after breakfast. It was raining, but that wasn't going to stop Pipsqueak and me. Our rain boots and jackets provided additional armor against the thorny bushes. In one hour, we picked 10 cups of berries, and an unknown number that went direct from bush to mouth. Our welsh corgi developed a taste for them and was eating them right off the bushes until he couldn't take any more snout scratches.
Our field has rolling hills, and I noticed that berries on the top of the hills were bigger, but they were riper and more plentiful in the valleys. There's probably some interesting science that explains that, but since I was more interested in boys than botany in school, I couldn't tell you what it is.
Today it was time to make use of these luscious blackberries. We made blackberry sorbet, blackberry ice cream,
blackberry muffins
and apple-blackberry crisp.
I felt like I had been given free food. Since my pantry is always stocked for baking, all I had to buy was a small container of whole milk and heavy cream. I didn't have to plant the berries, weed them or fertilize them. They were a gift from mother nature.

Some pickling cukes were demanding my attention, so I made 2 quarts of dill pickles, too. After dirtying every measuring cup, spoon and mixing bowl in the house at least once, I decided that was enough cooking for today.

I was reminded of many of my grandmother's diary entries from when she was my age when she would make bread, donuts, baked beans and more in one day. I can't compare my efforts to hers though when she baked in a wood oven and didn't have an automatic dishwasher. I enjoy using a few of her kitchen implements that I "inherited" and think of her while I cook.

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