Welcome to Herbs and Spice! Two things have always fascinated me: herbs and spices, and cooking. I'm always looking for new ways to use the herbs from my garden(and other people's), and forever trying and testing new recipes. So sharing my loves of all things garden and kitchen seemed to be the natural thing to do. I hope my blog will inspire you in your own garden or kitchen, so enjoy!
Ah, hot July summer. Yesterday I was reading a post on Flour On My Face about blackberry picking, and it reminded me of my own childhood experiences picking blackberries in Tennessee.
As kids, we looked forward to blackberry time all spring. Staring in June, we'd always start looking for the blackcap raspberries to ripen. Oh, they were so small and sweet when you could get them, but more importantly, they were always a precursor to the main event: blackberries.
Our house was surrounded on two sides by empty land; about 4-5 acres worth. That acreage was FULL of blackberry canes. We watched those canes like hawks; as soon as we saw the berries go black, it was time. Every evening, mom would dress us in long sleeves and pants to ward off chiggers...we always ended up getting them anyway, but I guess we could have had them worse. It would be hot and stifling in those clothes; it didn't matter, because it meant getting into the berries! We'd take gallon ice cream buckets and head out into the brush. Ms. Arlene from Flour On My Face recalled finding out about the rattlesnakes in the blackberry patches; we knew they were there, and it never scared us one bit. Us kids always knew when they were there and a stick or a rock neatly thrown usually moved them along. No snake was going to keep us from OUR berries! We'd pick, and eat, and eat and pick every evening during the season, coming home every night with full buckets, full tummies, and purple fingers. And chiggers or the occasional tick. But it didn't matter; we had berries.
My mom was a whiz when it came to making use of those blackberries; we always had fresh blackberry cobblers with milk, blackberry syrup for pancakes, and blackberry jelly, blackberry jam and frozen blackberries to enjoy all year long.
It's been years since I've done any serious berrying. Those lots have since been cleared and built on. And I've moved on from Tennessee into places where there just aren't blackberries like that. I guess the closest I've come to those great berrying summers was picking huckleberries when I lived in Wyoming, but it just wasn't the same. I'd give a lot to have those fun days back; it makes me cringe every time I see blackberries for sale in the grocery store for outrageous prices. And to me, they just don't taste the same as those sweet-tart, wild and wonderful berries I remember from my youth.