Friday, August 10, 2012

Trailing Blackberry- worth the stoop

Can life get any better?
In my boyish years, I regarded the Trailing Blackberry (Rubus ursinus) as an annoying vine which frequently sawed into my ankles as I darted through the woods playing war with the neighbor kids. In my estimation, the fruit from such a small plant couldn’t possibly be worth the trouble to pick, especially with so many large fruited Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus discolor) briars growing along our alley.

With age, however, came both patience and experience, and I have since learned to not only appreciate, but prefer our native Trailing Blackberry to its larger, invasive cousin. It is true that the fruit is much smaller, but what they lack in size, they make up for in flavor. When fully ripe, those little black jewels are packed with the very essence of summer berryliciousness. They are scrumptiously sweet with a slight tang and a complex fruity taste- as if all the summer’s fruit were distilled into one.

Berries in various stages of ripeness. Pick only those that are fully black.
Trailing blackberries abound in forests dominated by Douglas Fir (Psuedotsuga menziesii) and like many of our wild berries, they will only fruit when they receive ample light. Target tree openings on south facing slopes and the edges of forest stands for the best picking. Whether you take them home for pie, eat them fresh on ice-cream, or like me, eat them sun-warmed, right off the vine, be sure and smell your berry stained fingers for your dessert’s dessert.

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