As summer winds down and the hints of fall begin to appear in the curling tips of summer’s leaves, I always find myself looking deep into the bushes, keeping an eye on the darkening fruit of my most favorite of the abundant Pacific Northwest bounty: blackberries.
Blackberry season is upon us and that means fun with the family picking ripe juicy blackberries, (despite a few thorn-bruised and stained fingertips), making berry jams and jellies, and the unmistakable classic scent of late summer: my Nana’s Blackberry Cobbler recipe wafting from the kitchen.
Wild blackberries are the first to ripen here on the North Oregon Coast. They grow on small trailing plants along coastal mountains and ripen in late summer and early fall. Wild blackberries are smallish, tart and full of flavor, perfect for cobblers and jams. These are my favorite for cobbler because they create a mouth-watering combination of sweet and tart and the berries are perfectly bite-sized.
Himalayan blackberries, medium in size and next in line to ripen, grow to a deep purple-black with a mild, sweet flavor. These are the most plentiful of the blackberries and you’ll find them bursting from their vines along roadways and waterways.
The last of the Oregon blackberries to ripen are the Evergreen blackberries, which are a bit more seedy and firm than the Himalayan, and rather mild in flavor. Evergreen blackberry bushes are very thorny, but the fruits of your labor will be worth it if you if you dare to brave their prickly defenses.
What is your favorite dish made with Oregon blackberries?
Editor’s Note: Pay attention to where you’re picking berries, as some areas are sprayed with harmful pesticides and defoliants. Blackberries can be frozen for later use, just make sure they’re dry then place into zip seal bags. They thaw nicely and retain their flavor just fine.