Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blackberry Pie

I have been told that here, blackberries are a weed. Difficult to get rid of and over-take anything in their path.

"What?!" says the newbie from Texas.

There are 3 main types of "wild" blackberry here.

1 - Himalayan Blackberry Rubus armeniacus (syn. Rubus discolor)

2 - Evergreen Blackberry  Rubus laciniatus

The above are imports from Europe and are on the State's Noxious weed list. They both form dense thickets. Canes can get 40 feet long. and thickets can be 15 feet high!

3 - Native trailing blackberry Rubus ursinus

and they all have thorns!

I have a thicket of Himalayan bordering our property beside the neighbors' trailer to the north. I am working on trying to "tame the beast". The thicket was about 15 feet tall and 15 feet thick and about 50 feet long.
Himalayans do make BIG, SWEET BERRIES! It is so sad that they are taking over our natural areas.
While I was working on taming the thing, I of course picked as much as I could! 

For scale reference - those ferns are over 5 feet tall! I can't see over them and I'm 5'4"!

What a sight I must have been on my 7 foot ladder, trying my best not to gouge an eye out on the HUGE thorns (some up to an inch long), in my rose gloves, trying to reach and balance and pick the delicate berries.
There were also stinging nettles I had to remove as well (up to 15 feet tall as well)!

I think it was worth it. I got most of the nettles out, reduced the size of the thicket and got some really good berries!


I made about 2 pints of blackberry preserves and week later got my ladder and picked enough for a crumble-top pie.

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