Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rubus Fruticosus

The common blackberry.  Yum.  We are at the height of the season here in the Pacific Northwest.  In fact, Oregon is the leading blackberry producer in the world. But you don't need to go to Oregon to find this fruit.  Blackberries tolerate poor soil and will take over any vacant lot.  Who hasn't pushed forward into a tangled mass of prickly vines to reach the ripe fruit?  Who hasn't come home with a pail full and purple stained hands?  Good to eat, and good for you, too.  A handful of blackberries delivers 21% of recommended daily fiber, 25% of Vitamin K and a whopping 35% of Vitamin C.  People have endured the sharp barbs, and put up with the purple stains for centuries.  A woman whose well preserved body was found in a peat bog in Denmark had eaten blackberries for her last meal in the year 500 BC. 

Try Blackberry Mush:
Boil fresh, washed blackberries with just enough water to get the boiling started.  Cook only until tender (about 2 - 3 minutes).  Put the fruit through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and squeeze as much pulp through as you can.  Measure.  This recipe calls for 2 cups of juice.  Mix together in a small bowl 3 TBS cornstarch, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, pinch of salt.  Add, slowly, stirring all the time, to the cooled juice.  When thoroughly mixed in, cook over low heat, stirring all the time, until it thickens and boils.  Boil one minute and pour into a serving dish.  Chill and serve with thick cream, ice cream or sour cream..

The recipe is my mother's.  She loved it and planned an annual visit to me at this time of year to pick blackberries.  Mush is comfort food.  I will make it and think of her. 

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