Friday, April 10, 2009

Blackberry Bramble Memories

Yesterday I took a walk in the countryside near my house and noticed the blackberry brambles are blooming. The delicate white blooms reflecting the warm sunshine instantly brought back fond memories of picking blackberries during my childhood.

My mom and a few of my aunts would take the children to the edge of the fields where blackberry brambles covered the countryside. With buckets in hand we would harvest the delectable juicy berries in the warm Mississippi sunshine. We would always go quite early to avoid the hot mid-day sun. Spending a few hours among the blackberry brambles was a treat for the kids and we always got our fill of eating fresh blackberries off the vine.

By the end of the foray into the wilds, with purple dyed fingers we were always pleasantly full, happy and tired. The berries were brought back to the house and while the kids played in the yard around the house the sweet scent of cooking blackberries permeated the air as the women produced and canned jellies and jams from the sweet berries. During the afternoon when the family blackberry social ended, the dining room table was full with Mason jars holding some of the best homemade blue-ribbon jams and jellies around. The women would gather up their kids, portion the jellies and jams, and head to their respective homes loaded with a year’s supply of blackberry jelly and jam and also a nice portion of fresh uncooked berries.

Those fresh uncooked berries would later be transformed into a most wonderful dessert – fresh blackberry cobbler. There was nothing better on the dinner table than a nice hot blackberry cobbler straight out of the oven, with a crispy and buttery crust served with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Yesterday’s walk among the blooming blackberry brambles definitely got me longing for a good home-baked blackberry cobbler.


Bob Franks said...

I accidentally deleted a comment by Arvel. Arvel wrote: "Bob .... ALWAYS a "black racer" snake would dart out of the bushes ... and we would go home swinging galvanised buckets half-filled with blackberries (a full bucket would 'maysh' the fruit)... faces smeared with blackberry juice ... bare legs streaked with briar scratches ... nursing a family of chiggers ... all worth it when, once home, we spooned into bowls of warm blackberries smothered in Domino sugar and Barber's sweet milk."

Arvel, I had forgotten about the briar scratches and chiggers. Now I'm trying to remember the home remedy to get those little critters off your legs and ankles.

Anonymous said...

I remember "coal oil" being wiped on our legs before going to the blackberry "thicket" as my grandmother Dyer referred to the briar patch!

In the late 60's, early 70's, Avon Products offered a soap "Pine Tar Soap" and I had no idea of a use for it; however, I got "gazillions" of chiggers/red bugs! while mowing a field for the neighbor kids to have a place to play baseball. I hurried into the shower and somehow I grabbed that bar of pine tar soap and when I got out of the shower all my critters were gone. . . .

The last bar of this type soap I found in a drug store was called "Dad's Pine Tar Soap" - it wasn't as cheap as other soaps, but it worked. I told someone about pine tar soap and she had her children bathe with it before they went camping out on the nearby lake, but she didn't use it for herself. Well, she called me when they returned to tell me she was "eaten up" with chigger bites but her kids didn't have a bite on them. bettye

Bob Franks said...

Bettye, you are absolutely correct. I remember coal oil being used for that purpose and to this day I can remember that coal oil scent.