Berried Treasure
27 Aug 2007

Don't you love a treasure hunt? I think that's why I love picking berries so much. Poking around under leaves in search of the next stash of sweetness. I grew up picking blackberries by the side of the road with my mother in Georgia, on those hot, hot summer days. Despite my overall lack of tolerance for heat and humidity, any sunburn or scratches from the briars seemed well were worth it with each berry bite. In Seattle, blackberry picking is even simpler... find your favorite stash of blackberry plants, and show up every two days or so for the entire month of August, and you'll have easy pickings, with hardly a scratch. And, you don't have to look far. In fact, it's harder to find a spot without them. Any patch of ground left bare and ignored for a few months is likely to find a few popping up. As with most people when they first come to the this corner of the Northwest, you can't imagine signs that offer services to rid yards and alleyways of the fruity bushes. But it doesn't take long to understand that blackberries are a colossal weed threatening at any moment to rise up and take over the whole city. Not that being over run with berries seems like that bad of a way to go to me.

I had been eyeing my particular favorite patch most of the summer... waiting for the day when enough of the green and red to turn a deep, juicy black. I love this particular spot, near the Montlake playfield, because it tends to ripen a bit later and more slowly than many of the south facing plants.
Unfortunately, my picking morning happened less than a week before I had to pack up my kitchen, meaning not much time to play with my first harvest... and many weeks of the prime picking that I had to miss. I still managed to freeze up a few quarts, and make a lovely batch of blackberry corn muffins.
Nothing fancy with this recipe... it's just the one on the side of the Albers white corn meal box, with the berries thrown in and cooked in silicone muffin cups. I like to add the berries to the dry ingredients and stir to coat each one. This seems to help keep them a bit more separate in the batter as the muffins cook. I also topped each one with a blackberry pressed lightly into the middle of the cup.
My new kitchen is now only hours away! We either get the keys tonight or tomorrow... now, I just have to figure out what I christen it with!

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