Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The blackberries are ripening in Shoreline

Blackberries at Ronald Bog

When I first moved to Shoreline I was very happy to discover that there were wild blackberries growing all over the place, free for the picking! I quickly learned that they are widely reviled in these parts because they're an invasive species that pretty much takes over everything. So they're bad news for native plants and a real pain to try to eradicate.

So that's a bummer.

I have to admit, though, that I still enjoy a hot blackberry cobbler made with fresh (free) blackberries.

At any rate, the breaking news is that the wild, invasive, troublesome blackberries are turning ripe in Shoreline!

What do you think about the blackberries? Post your thoughts to the comments section. Better yet, if you have a yummy blackberry recipe, post that to the comments section!


  1. Here's my tip: I bring some hedge trimmers with me and CLEAR CUT my way to the best berries. Hack! Hack! Hack!

  2. I grew up in Shoreline and one of my lasting childhood memories is picking blackberries downt he street from my house. I still live in Shoreline and now my kids can participate in this cheap entertainment! I plan on taking them out one morning to pick for a couple hours and spend the rest of the day baking and enjoying blackberry cobbler!

  3. Mmm - blackberry cobbler! Do you have a good recipe you could post? I'd love to try that!

  4. The taste of a ripe blackberry sums up the joy of late summer for me. They are more than an urban snack - they are memory medicine. By that, I mean that every time I pop a wild blackberry in my mouth, it transports me back to the days when I am a kid picking blackberries with my mom by canoe in Lake Washington. I can still hear the slap of water against the hull, the lazy rocking, the plunkity-plunk-plop of berries into a bucket...

    Sometimes I will cook a wild blackberry pie just because I love the way it makes my house smell.

    But then there's that sticky invasive thing...

    Two years ago, I started working to restore native habitat in a local watershed and learned that blackberries are "bad guys" when it comes to invasive species. Damn! I hate it when that happens.

    Like when you find out that the beautiful purple butterfly bush you love or the knotweed honey you just bought at Pike Place are big no-nos for environmental sustainability. Or when you find out a relative has been up to something really unsavory, and you should probably wag a finger and give them the cold shoulder, but you find yourself wrapping them in a hug anyway.

    That's how I feel about blackberries.

    A small middle ground...At least we have one native blackberry - a frosty green vine that crawls along the forest floor in parks around Seattle. It's small, but yummy, too.

    You can check out a KUOW broadcast with picking tips and recipes for wild blackberry sorbet, cobbler and compote here:

    And finally, a fun fact: any berry that is shaped like a blackberry (made up of lots of little round pouches of juice like raspberries and salmon berries) is edible. This holds true everywhere in the world. So, if you need to survive, and you see a blackberry or something that has the same shape, eat it! It may not be good for the native flora, but it sure is tasty for you!

    Okay, this has made me hungry...I'm off to hunt for blackberries...