Thursday, August 15, 2013

A small lesson from the climate change front.

My tongue hurts.

Because?  Well, because blackberries (the berry kind) don't grow in Minnesota; it's too cold.  We have black raspberries, red raspberries, lotsa other berries, but the true blackberry- nope.  They're all over Wisconsin (the southern half) and Iowa (the southern half) - but - none of my neighbors know what a blackberry is.

Which I've usually been very thankful for.  Raspberry vines/canes are thorny- but blackberry vines will tear your shirt, your jeans, and your skin, bigtime.  I've fought through blackberry tangles enough in other places that I'd rather not have them around.

But.  Now- they're here.  Seed dropped by birds, most likely- and they've been getting established near the Little House for a couple of years.  Almost fruited last year- but the drought really kept anything from happening.  This year is wet- and so-

Looks yummy, huh?  And there are tons of them.  Could be making two pies a day.

They're wild- but they're big.  Like 3 times as big as our wild black raspberries ever get- so; very tempting.  My hand, which takes an XL glove.

I've been feeling fatalistic about it- if the birds are dropping seed- they'll drop more next year.  If the plants are surviving - then, they'll survive.  So.  Might as well enjoy this luscious free wild fruit, right?  Of course!  Going to lose the fight to keep them out anyway.  I go out in the morning, pick 5 or 6 handfuls and inhale them for breakfast.  And lunch.  And dinner.  Why wouldn't you?

Now it's been years since I've eaten many blackberries.  They are a bit seedy- but you just crunch up the seeds, and it becomes part of the whole "sweet/sour/juicy/crunchy/wild berry" mouth experience.

And, I'm sure I knew this as a kid, in Indiana and Ohio- but I'd forgotten.


I know this for a fact; because- one of the crunchies got to me before I crunched it- and bit me on the tip of my tongue- hard.

I spit him out- but not fast enough, and my tongue still hurts.

I'm still shoveling them in.  But I do now, usually, give the various critters also enjoying the berries just a little time to scurry out and away, before inhaling.


Aimee said...

Haha! I can never decide - inspect the berries and try to blow off all the bugs, or just close your eyes and eat! Of course, baking them into a pie or making a smoothie is another option... Blackberries are a fact of life in western Washington - so many we all get sick and tired of them. I make my kids pick them and then freeze them for the winter.

knutty knitter said...

Love blackberries :) I tend to make jelly though because the seeds can be a bit excessive!

viv in nz

Anonymous said...

Invasive Himalyan blackberries are the bane of the Pacific Northwest ... but they make marvelous jam. I strain out some of the seeds (but not all, because some seeds are part of the blackberry experience). Berry syrup, frozen berries for winter cobbler ... they really are a gift. Stripped of thorns, the canes can be woven into lovely baskets, for the creative weavers amongst you, and the roots are supposed to be an excellent diarrhea remedy. Tinctured, I think. Just don't ever compost the canes, accidentally or otherwise. The thorns petrify. Then they really hurt.

Would say something in the previous post about the Tepco mess, but it all just leaves me speechless, if not surprised. And also wondering how long our own Pacific coast -- and fish therefrom -- will be radiation free. Assuming they still are.

Anonymous said...

Lovely berry photos! Thanks for sharing the note on watching out for the crunchies that bite back! In my neck of the woods this is the year of the hornet. Everywhere I go I'm seeing hornet nests. On the upside, it has been an amazing year for gardens and fruit trees.

Unknown said...

Hello, I just found your blog and discovered from your opening line that you too are from Minnesota :) However, I must say- blackberries do in fact grow in Minnesota :) I live up on the arrowhead and just a mile down the road is a great blackberry picking spot and a friend of mine has them growing along her driveway. Delicious!

Nice to have found you,


Greenpa said...

Hi, Erin- welcome! It's certainly possible you have blackberries in the Arrowhead; wouldn't be the first time I've been surprised by plant distributions. But- I am surprised. :-) Are you quite certain what you have are "blackberries" and not "blackcaps"; which are actually black raspberries? Pardon my asking; but partly my experience with my neighbors is that they often assume they're the same; and they're not. The blackcaps are much more cold hardy, and more widely distributed. I'll certainly believe you if you tell me you know the difference. :-) There are parts of the Arrowhead which are climatically under the influence of Lake Superior, of course; and a little "sheltered" that way.

Magpie said...

NOT ALL THE CRUNCHY BITS ARE SEEDS. That's words to live by.