Blackberry Season Swiftly Approaching!

By Vickie Phelps www.SeattleCanCan.Blogspot.Com

Blackberry season is nearly here! The last week of July and the first week of August are prime time for blackberries and the bushes around Cascadia are loaded with free abundant fruit. Blackberries may not be Cascadian natives but we love them all the same.

Start looking around your area for the best place to pick: find an out of the way place that hasn’t been maintained, is at least 2 blocks from the nearest roadway, has lush green blackberry bushes that show no signs of chemical spray like leaf curling or browning.

Get your equipment lined up: a 1-gallon milk jug makes a great bucket. Simply cut a wide hole in the top and add a wide comfy shoulder strap to the jug handle. This will allow you to pick berries with both hands. Find or make some shallow cardboard boxes–no more than 4 inches deep and stackable. Pick into your milk jug and then pour the berries into the shallow boxes. The shallow boxes minimize crushing and the dry boxes will help to remove extra dampness.

Check your patch daily and start picking as soon as berries begin to turn black. Revisit the same area every 2-3 days to maximize the harvest. By visiting the same bushes and not allowing overripe berries to accumulate, you are helping the bush avoid getting moldy–all the better to get more berries!

When you get your blackberries home, wash them in small batches and spread them out on a towel to dry for (very) short-term storage in the refrigerator. For longer term storage, spread the berries out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them. When they are solid, transfer them to an airtight container in the freezer. Use frozen berries to add a taste of summer to yogurt and smoothies.

 

Blackberry Jelly

Crush blackberries and add half as much sugar as you have blackberries–2 cups of berries needs 1 cup of sugar.

Allow berries to sit for 4-24 hours until very juicy. Strain out the seeds and put the juice in a sauce pan. Add 1 Tablespoon Low/No Sugar® Ball© Pectin for each 16 ounces of juice. Bring to a full rolling boil for 2+ minutes. Check the “set” by placing a dribble of juice on a cold plate.

Turn the plate sideways–when the juice stays mostly in place, the jelly is done. Pour jelly into small jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months(like that is going to happen!) or pour into sterile canning jars and process in a Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes for storage in the pantry.

Blackberry Pancake Syrup

Crush blackberries and add as much brown sugar as you have blackberries–2 cups of berries needs 2 cup of brown sugar. Allow berries to sit for 4-24 hours until very juicy. Strain out the seeds and put the juice in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Stir in 1/4 cup butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a dash of cinnamon. Bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to a month. Re-heat just before serving with pancakes, waffles or oatmeal.

Recipes from, The Productive Kitchen, by Vickie Phelps still in progress!

More information on Home Canning and Food Production: http://seattlecancan.blogspot.com/

 

New Cascadian Beer hits the Shelves!

Phillips Brewing Company out of Vancouver BC has released a tasty new Cascadian beverage.

Going by the name of Rifflandia Brau Pilsner! The beer features a sovietesque citizenry proudly waving a Cascadian Flag, proudly declaring “Rifflandia: A Pilsner for the People!”

The beer was created as a contender for a local beer contest, and will of course be winning dozens of awards worldwide.

 

A Cascadian Drinking Song

Lyrics by Josh Mahar

 

From the Emerald City to Bridgetown down South An Ode to Cascadia I sing from my mouth.

With its mountains so mighty and its trees oh so tall, We drink to Cascadia, ’cause it’s got it all.

Cheers! to Cascadia with all of its green, Where we all like it dirty and the waters are clean.

Cheers! to Cascadia, let the rain fall outside, We’ll dance in the puddles while the foreigners hide.

We’ve got breweries a-plenty, the best pot around, and Autumn brings magical fruit from the ground.

In winter the snow piles high on the peaks, and long summer nights let us stay out and drink!

Cheers! to Cascadia with all of its green, Where we all like it dirty and the waters are clean.

Cheers! to Cascadia, let the rain fall outside, We’ll dance in the puddles while the foreigners hide.

We pour, One for the Salmon whose homes all got dammed, by greedy capitalists here in this land.

But now we have wisdom, we’ve learned from the past, We must work with nature to make this land last.

Cheers! to Cascadia with all of its green, Where we all like it dirty and the waters are clean.

Cheers! to Cascadia, let the rain fall outside, We’ll dance in the puddles while the foreigners hide.