Berry Heaven

by Cynthia

the fruits of july

July means blackberries!   This photo is of Apache blackberries, a domestic variety that I planted along the fence around the garden.  Along our driveway are several wild blackberry brambles, and I’ll take the taste of those little gems over these big, fat domestic berries any day. The domestic berries are like Las Vegas strippers: plumped up, sexy, and easy to get.  Picking the wild ones involves a bit of preparation. The other day I suited up to pick wild berries- no skin exposed- tons of Deet- and my gardening gloves on.   I filled up my basket and then took off my picking clothes before ambling out to the garden to pick these easy guys! No thorns, no chiggers, and huge juicy berries.  The domestic berries are so easy to grow, I don’t understand why every yard doesn’t sport a few canes.

Apache is a nice domestic blackberry that just needs some good amended soil, a bit of sunshine and consistent watering for the first year to establish its root system. Plant the canes three feet apart along a fence line or string up a support with some posts and wire.They make a great privacy screen in the summer! The canes that grow in the first year are primocanes, and won’t produce fruit. Prune them to around four feet tall. The second season, they will become floricanes, and will be producing berries. After fruiting is over and the canes die, cut those first year canes out, and tie up the new canes, which will become the fruit producers the following year. If you want to grow blackberries, or raspberries, check out your local Farmer’s Co-op next year for good plants at reasonable prices.

Here is one day’s raspberry harvest from only 5 plants!

  Raspberries!

Here is  the reason I gain weight in the summer while everyone else is wasting away in the heat; Aunt Ina’s Quick Cobbler.  It’s just too easy. Pick the berries, make the cobbler, pig out. The recipe is in the Swan Family Cookbook, which was complied by one of my industrious cousins. You can’t buy it, unfortunately. So  you won’t get to see the photo of me at four years old with my finger stuck  up my nose that precedes the section on Salads. Too bad, right?

Here is Aunt Ina’s recipe;

1 stick of butter

1 C. sugar

1 C. self-rising flour

3/4 C. milk

2-3 cups fresh fruit   ( if using peaches or apples, steam the fruit first to soften it)

Melt the butter in a deep dish. Mix the sugar, flour and milk together in a separate bowl, then pour the mixture over the melted butter. Put the fruit on the top and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top becomes slightly browned and the cobbler is firm.

 

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