Wednesday, August 17, 2011

annual blackberry post

I just want to go on record as saying that if you live in Oregon and you don't pick blackberries, it is a sin. Conversely, if you live in Oregon and you plant blackberries, it is a sin. I think its pretty much like any sin-not sin determination: you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Also, I'm sure I've said, but will repeat myself, that cockroaches and blackberries will be the last ones standing. (see previous posts, turns out there is only so much to be said for blackberry picking and I say it once a year.)

There. I've said my piece.

Today we (he) got up early and (he) made coffee and we went to pick blackberries. As I pick, I think of this post, this yearly pilgrimage to the vines, wearing a long sleeved shirt not becasue I shoot heroin, but to protect my lily-white arms. (ghosts of summers past) And real shoes. Even my bzillion dollar keens can't keep the thorns away. And my overalls, which are now museum-quality. I'll take a picture. I actually order upholstery samples online to patch them with. A thing of beauty, depending on the beholder.

So, I pick - and this summer it is all low hanging fruit, easy pickin' - thanks to the endless spring of Portland. We picked for 45 minutes and filled a five-gallon bucket. Now, two pies are in the smoker (what?) and 4 racks of berries in the freezer for pies to come. Enough left for a smoothie. Yum.

This isn't blackberry 101, but there is a trick to it. Like any fruit, if it doesn't want to come off the vine, it isn't ready. You have to respect that or you'll have a sour pie and use a ton of sugar. Ripe berries have a shine to them, a fullness. If they've lost the shine and are a bit dull, they are still great for jam or juice, but will fall apart in your hand. So I just pop those in my mouth and call them breakfast. Then come home and make a smoothie and call it breakfast too. Then an egg sandwich on sourdough, but I'm getting into a problem area.

So, Kurt made the pies and is trying out the smoker instead of heating up the house with the oven. I appreciate the heat consciousness, but am tentative in my support of the smoker.

Okay. I've been busily editing the f**king manuscript and am making real progress. I should be finished in time to send it to the publisher of my dreams. Back to work.

Oh, this might surprise you, but I want to put in a pitch for french manicures. I'm a gardener and I work in health care and my hands always look like crap. A french manicure is the fix for that. Just sayin'.


asha said...

Goddamn. One of these years I've got to get up there during blackberry pie season. I've been reading your posts about it for years.

gelesse.... at least it's a real fake word instead of a fake real word.

Bob said...

Blackberries, yes. I drink a potion called dr red which is a concentrate of good things cuz my diet is lousy. It's $40 --I haven't had a winter cold since I've gone back on it.
My biggest health problem is smoking, an offending stump in my fingers as I type, swearing it will be my last.

Anonymous said...

here in Norway I pick blueberries ! but also in my old overalls, overalls and especially patched overalls are the best clothing you can dream of. I don't know any other clothing item that becomes greater and a bigger treasure as they get older and more torn and dirty, get their own patina ! have an overall nice weekend, Niels