Blackberries bring back a lot of memories for me. My Grandma Newt used to take us to Aunt Jan’s house, usually because I begged and begged to go see her beautiful buckskin gelding “Buck”, and the best donkey in the world “George”. I always got to sit on Buck, my sister always managed to get George, a point that would be (and still is) brought up to me throughout the years. – I got the horse and my sister got the ass. There has to be a photo somewhere of an ecstatic me on Buck and a happy but slightly miffed Lauren atop of George. Both were calm elderly creatures that were treated like kings and we always brought them apples and carrots and plenty of scratches for their ears and backs. They were well loved and lived to very old ages, both being 36 years old or more before passing.
Aunt Jan also had an enormous back berry patch. I could not reach the top of canes, and they had to be about 4 feet thick. We’d pick a quart or two and want to go make jam with Newt (because she makes the best jam). But what happened inevitably every. single. time. was Newt would come out and see so many unpicked berries…the biggest best berries left behind for the birds, which was simply not allowed. There was a reason they were unpicked, these berries were about 3 feet back into the impenetrable bramble thicket and grandma wasn’t satisfied until we pressed back there and became human pin cushions. By this time my sister had retreated to George and Buck and I was left picking the damned berries. At least I got to munch them as I went along, which one day came to a screeching halt when I popped a berry into my mouth and felt something cling to my tongue, panicking spit everything out but the thing was still stuck there, by now I’m totally freaking out so gather up the balls and I reach in and pull out a japanese beetle. Blackberries weren’t the same for years after that.
Sometimes blackberries begin to ripen at uneven intervals and the easiest way to accumulate the quantities needed for large recipes is to freeze them as they come in, and it couldn’t be simpler.
How To Freeze Blackberries:
- Rinse berries
- Dry them on a towel you wouldn’t mind getting stained
- Spread them one layer thick on a cookie sheet, and freeze 4 hours or overnight
- Place in a freezer safe container of your choice
To use them after they’ve been frozen, measure when they are still frozen then allow them to thaw. Drain excess liquid and use in the recipe as directed.