blackberries_200907241As noted earlier this week, the first blackberries are starting to ripen in Seattle. Only about one per cluster is ripe (blackberries ripen from the end of a cluster to the base), but even that is a sizable amount if you know where a few dense, blackberry hedges are.  I went out this morning with a gallon pitcher and backpack for a stroll with just that in mind.  Only about 30-45 minutes of leisurely foraging (including travel time on foot) provided about half a gallon.  I stopped only because I felt this was enough and  many, many blackberries remain.  I’d estimate about 5% of the blackberries are actually ripe so there is going to be a tremendous amount in our neighborhood alone.

I was a little disappointed to see where the city had cut back several hedges that were encroaching on some side streets in spots I’d made a note to visit earlier this year. Still, hedges are resilient and the plants don’t look like they’re giving up any time soon.

Update: Better picture below.  More pictures later once jam is complete (that may be a few hours).

Update: Small test batch of jam complete. It’s wonderful! Fills all the nooks and crannies of an English muffin perfectly.  Going to have to go out and again soon to collect more and make some jars as gifts.

The usual perils were at hand. Thorns are usually no problem as long as you wear long pants, but I go short-sleeved because of the warmth and because snagged sleeves are worse to me than a few minor scratches.  Bees are another, but the ones here are fairly mild.  If you give them plenty of room and don’t disturb the foliage too much, they pretty much ignore you.  I did have one incident where a few of them started “bumping” me, a sign they are becoming agitated and want you to leave.  So I did. No harm, no foul, no sting. Thanks for the warning, ladies!

Time to wash all these and make some jam!

blackberries_washed_seattle