In Eastern Oklahoma, wild blackberries have to be one of the easiest most bountiful items you can gather. They can be found just about everywhere in the wild; brush piles, hillsides, creeks, fence lines, right-of-way’s, roadside ditches, you name it. If you live outside of town and you haven’t seen them, you probably just haven’t looked closely enough. Blackberries in Eastern Oklahoma tend to ripen around mid-summer and for us it’s an annual event we look forward too. Or perhaps I should say for me, as my wife just prefers the finished product, I on the other hand love the activity of picking them and eating them. I am not sure why, maybe because its just being outside, maybe it’s the idea of a free bounty, maybe it’s just nostalgia, either way I love it. While cobbler may be the best way to eat them, I also enjoy them on salads, in cereal and as a Jam.
What you need to know about picking blackberries:
- Chiggers and ticks – Chiggers love blackberry bushes. That said, take all the precautions. Cover all your exposed skin with clothing and spray down with bugspray. Even better is to treat your clothes with Permethrin in advance (if you do, be sure to allow clothes to dry before wearing). Also, when done picking I recommend a shower as chiggers can be washed away with a good scrubbing (emphasis on scrubbing) if done so relatively quickly. Ticks are also a concern in this part of the world so be certain to look you and your loved ones over.
- Thorns – Blackberry bushes are covered with them so be prepared for some prickly situations. If you go all in like I do, you will end up with some well-earned scratches. Also, it’s a good idea to wear clothes that are resistant to clinging thorns or at least garments that you don’t mind suffering a snag or two. And pants, shorts are absolutely not recommended.
- Basic necessities – a bucket (a milk jug with whole cut in the top works wonderfully as it has a handle), water and time.
- One last thing I will mention is snakes – I have always heard that snakes like to hang out in blackberry bushes awaiting birds as prey. That said, in my years of picking, I have yet to encounter a snake in wait. I recommend you keep an eye out all the same, but you should do this anytime you are out in the wild.
- Most important is to have fun! Make it a family affair and get everyone involved. It’s a great opportunity to break away from our phone screens and enjoy the summer.
- 6C blackberries
- 1 1/4C sugar
- 1 1/4C flour
- 3/4t baking powder
- 8T unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 egg
- 3/4t vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter a 9” round pan
- Combine blackberries and 1c sugar and place in buttered pan
- Combine flour, sugar and baking powder – stir.
- Add butter and cut butter into the flour/sugar mixture until combined.
- In a separate bowl beat egg and add vanilla extract.
- Add egg mixture to flour mixture and combine with your hands.
- Add mixture to the top of blackberries by dropping small portions (about 1T) until the top is covered. Do not spread out. Lightly dust the top sugar.
- Bake for 35-45mins until crust is golden and crisp to your liking. Serve immediately (with ice cream of course).