Blackberries everywhere!

Monday, August 18, 2008

So I don't know about the rest of the nation, but the Pacific Northwest is covered in blackberries. Blackberries originally from the Himalayas have become the kudzu of the Northwest and are know to envelope buildings and cars and things in a short period of time. Not quite as short as kudzu, but anyone who has tried to keep it from encroaching on their yard or garden knows, it's tenacious.

Well luckily this tenacious plant is overlooked by many, and you can generally pick all you'd like from many quiet spots where no one really wants them to be anyway. (roadsides are a great place to start, it's just important to be in natural areas that don't have any pesticides used on them) How can you tell? Well, there are two ways, one, is that brown and yellow wilted leaves. Two, where they are cut back.. You see cuts, most parks won't do both, and the cuts are a sign that they are using mechanical methods instead of pesticides.

I have been picking blackberries for many years and it's always fun, since I love to get in the underbrush and get great blackberries that others might miss. Well I've been trying to come up with easy and great ways to incorporate them into the kitchen!

So two weeks ago, I came up with a great smoothie recipe. I put a container of vanilla non fat yogurt, a half nectarine, a half cup of blackberries, some soy milk, and some crushed ice. I put it all in the blender and came out with a tart and delicious deep purple smoothie!

Well, not to be outdone from my previous week, I thought about how I used to love to make blackberry ice cream with my grandfather. Well, we don't have an ice cream maker, but we did have some super premium vanilla ice cream in the freezer. I went simple, and just put some vanilla ice cream and some blackberries into my huge Kitchenaide mixer and used the paddle attachment for a great treat. It was like blackberry softserve!

Today, after visiting my local Burgerville, I realized that it would be a great idea to try to make some blackberry lemonade like they have at their restaurants. So I bought some lemonade at Trader Joe's, and then made an amalgamation of blackberry and sugar. I put some in the bottom of a glass, ice on top, and topped off the glass with lemonade. Turns out, it's even better than the original. A little more tart, and a lot less cloying! Thank goodness for a quick and easy blackberry flavored day.