Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It's that time of year again. No, not the start of football season. Now is the time when Washington's most beloved weeds are finally giving up what makes them, in my mind anyway, the edible equivalent of pure gold, waiting to be discovered along roadsides, in parks, engulfing yards and pretty much any other outdoor venue imaginable... blackberries. My eyes have been peeled for the first signs of color amongst the thorny tangles that are part of my day-to-day scenery. Ripened fruits have been spotted.
While my take on the blackberry bush is that we should enjoy it's purple pleasures while we can and just ignore it again until next year, the authorities on Washington's botanical situation have decided that blackberries are to be looked upon with scorn and be dubbed with this title of degradation... Class C Noxious Weed (cue thunder and scary music). Noxious. It sounds so horrifying, so deadly. The truth is, though, that if left unchecked, blackberries could easily take over the entire city of Seattle. In defense, the city has fences erected, bushes cut back and ripped up from the ground. It's a losing battle. Spiky brambles start to push their way through fence gaps; a year after being pulled, new growth will find it's way to the soil's surface and begin to spread again. It can't be stopped. Oh, delicious onslaught.
Last week I picked for the first time this season. About a quart's worth made it back to the apartment with me (some were sacrificed on the spot). Picking blackberries can be dangerous business, indeed. The thorns that coat their branches are like little talons that grab onto clothing and tear through flesh. My hands are definitely a little worse for wear, but blood and broken skin won't stop me from plucking, pulling, picking away. Purple-stained finger tips make me smile.
What to do with this year's haul? I've got some good ideas that I'll be sharing soon. Eat berries, be happy!