The blackberries that grow wild in my yard aren’t as perfectly formed as the genetically modified ones to be found at the grocery store, but they are tasty. I let them grow where they will and over the years the number of brambles has increased along with the amount of fruit.
Nova Scotia is known for its abundance of berries. Like other wild berries, blackberries are full of vitamins and minerals that make them an excellent food choice. For maximum nutritional value, they are best eaten raw, fresh off the vine.
For dessert, they can be piled raw into empty tart shells with fresh whipped cream. Blackberries can also be enjoyed in pies, jams, pancakes and wines. They are also delicious served simply with cream and sugar. Their leaves can be made into a tea.
Berry bannock is an excellent native recipe that can be cooked in a pan over a campfire:
- Mix 2 cups of flour with 3 tsps baking powder, 4 tbsps powdered milk and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Cut in 6 tbsps margarine, butter or shortening.
- Ad 1 cup washed damp berries, mixing gently to coat fruit.
- Add 1/3 cup water and work into a dough.
- Shape into a 1 inch thick rounded cake, dust with flour and place into a warm, greased fry pan.
- Cook over moderate heat until a crust forms on the bottom.
- Turn over with spatula and cook until browned and no dough sticks into a fork inserted into centre of dough.
Often the birds manage to get to the blackberries before I have a chance to pick them. The bramble shown below was picked clean by wild creatures who obviously didn’t believe in wasting anything. I’ve found a nest of cedar waxwings in the yard in the past, placed not far from some blackberry brambles.
The following quotation was used in the first post I wrote in this journal last October. I’m reminded of it whenever I pick the blackberries growing in the yard.
I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods. Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.