Spring is one of my favorite times of the year and blackberries are the reason. I love blackberries. I love the way they look, the way they smell, the way they feel when I pick them off the vine and the warm berries burst in my mouth with just the right mix of spring sweetness and tangy tartness.
It also helps that I can fix around twenty different blackberry themed foods. This year is an exceptionally good year for these little guys. We've had a mild spring, with plenty of water to keep them plump and sweet. My favorite part about blackberry picking is that I don't have to do a single thing to grow them. Here in the South, blackberries grow wild in almost every patch of ground that has been cleared and disturbed in the past few years. Roadsides are ideal for finding blackberries, so long as we don't pick on the edge of busy roads or roadsides that are sprayed with insecticides. We choose to wild forage our berries on little-traveled country roads.
In early spring, my firefighter and I don't drive anywhere without scoping out the best blackberry blossoms that will soon become large patches of ripe berries. Then come early May, it is harvest time! We lace up our snake boots (because snakes love blackberry brambles as much as we do,) grab buckets and pitchers and head out picking. As long as the rain holds out, we have at least two months of harvest time because there is an early variety of ground-runners that we pick starting in May. Then the tall, drooping canes are ready to harvest in June.
So far this year, we've harvested enough to make a pie, several rounds of muffins, wash and freeze some for smoothies, and now enough to make jam! I've never made blackberry jam before, but by this weekend I hope to post some pictures of the blackberry and honey jam I'm going to make. As soon as this posts, we are headed out to pick some more. Wish us luck!