I love this time of year!!! The smells are intoxicating on the west coast. It’s a combination of ripe berries and other fruit, ocean breezes, hot pine needles and seaweed baked in the summer sun. Trust me, it actually smells great.
Like most days we were looking for something to do with the kids, and I thought Mmmmm blackberries. Luckily we are living in an area where they grow in abundance at roadsides and in parks during late summer. We just headed down to the local pack and started picking. Each kid had their own bucket to collect and true to form Bryce ate all the berries that came close to his bucket. It was hard to keep track of how much he ate exactly but the amount of juice on his face suggests that it was a lot. Did he not know what I was planning to do with those berries? Instant satisfaction is all he knows or really cares about. As well as picking (and eating) berries, the kids all had a nice walk as we explored the park.
Returning home with full tummies, stained shirts and a good amount of blackberries in our buckets, I decided that we should put these berries to good use; PIE!!!! Now I am not an expert in making pies, not even close, but I thought I would see if I could find a recipe for a quick crust and pie. Within a half hour I had found a couple simple recipes and had started cooking. Being my first blackberry pie I wanted something easy and these recipes I found online worked out great. We were eating pie by dinner time (why wait for desert).
This turned into a pretty rewarding afternoon. The whole family was able to join in and feel like they had contributed and it was cheap. To make this pie, since the berries were free, cost under $2.00 to make, plus your time. It was much better than most store bought pie (Yuk) which can be easily $4 and up. We are lucky that we have Blackberry bushes close to us but another option, available in many places, are a u-pick berry farm. Going to a berry farm will add cost to your family outing but it will make an enjoyable day for the family, with benefits.
Blackberry picking tips
- Dress the family in long sleeves in clothes that you do not care if they get ripped or stained.
- Take all you want as long as you’re not trespassing on someone’s property.
- Picking along busy roads and train lines is not advised. Who knows what toxins have absorbed into the fruit that you will be eating. Roadside berries are not organic.
- Bryce says “go picking when you are hungry” – which for him means anytime is a good time to go picking.