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Making A Washington Wild Blackberry Pie

August 25, 2010

Phil Lasley eats wild blackberries

While walking through Carkeek Park the other day, my wife and I stumbled upon a patch of wild blackberry bushes. I’d never seen wild blackberry bushes before and a local Seattleite told us to try one. I plucked one off the bush and bit into it. The juice had a sweet, tart flavor that reminded me of blackberry pie (of course). After devouring a handful, our fingers covered in berry juice, we decided to return later and gather enough berries to make our own pie.

The next evening we walked back to the park, containers in hand, and spent a couple hours picking the juiciest berries we could find. During the picking process I learned a few things about wild berry picking.

Wild blackberries on the vine

1. Wear protective clothing
The leaves on the bushes were covered in small spines that would stick to any exposed skin they touched. The spines were too small to see, but as soon as they touched your skin it burned like fire. Hours after picking I could still feel the tingles on my exposed skin where I had brushed against the leaves. From then on I wore a long sleeve shirt, pants, and bicycle gloves.

2. Bring a big stick
The bushes hung heavy with berries, but many of the biggest ones hung just out of reach behind three feet of thick, thorny brush. When I tried to reach out to get them, the spiny leaves either pricked my skin or my clothes got caught on the thorny branches. However, beating the bushes with a big stick (e.g. a wooden broomstick) quickly opened a path to the juicy berries in the back. After beating the bushes a few times, I started having more fun wielding my stick than picking the berries.

3. Pick as many as you want
The bushes had three varieties of berries. It had the big, black juicy ripe ones. Then it had red, hard berries that wouldn’t ripen for a couple days. Finally, it had green berries, which still had awhile before they would be ready to pick. We filled our containers with ripe berries, and didn’t even come close to picking them all. The next day we went back to pick more, and many of the berries that had been red the day before had fully ripened. No matter how many we picked there were plenty to go around!

We took all our berries back to the house and Steph followed a recipe we found online and baked a homemade blackberry pie. Not only did she make the crust from scratch, but also she used the wild blackberries that we had picked earlier.

Wild Blackberry Pie

Trust me, it tasted as good as it looks.

Have you every made something using wild ingredients? If so, what did you make?

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From → Cooking

3 Comments
  1. Dave and Kathy permalink

    love it!

  2. Johnny permalink

    Well, I haven’t but we also have wild blackberries down by the pond. I recently took Tony Ford down to pick some. We ate more than we picked!

  3. Saskatoon berry pie! If you get saskatoons in Washington, definitely try it. If you use a little cinnamon with them it’s really great. They can be a little gritty in the centre because of the seeds but the ripest ones are very sweet.

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