I’ve made several trips to Sauvie Island and shared some of what I found here. On Sunday I made a visit with two friends who know the island well and where the best places for picking wild blackberries are. The berry patches were huge and heavy with plump, ripe fruit. I haven’t picked wild blackberries since I lived in Washington during the 1970s. We had a huge patch in our backyard so picking and cooking with the berries was easy. I made pies and jams and even traded the fruit with other neighbors who had other fruits growing in their yards.
My goal for picking was 3.5 pounds for a single batch of jam with a little more for morning breakfast. These berries are best cooked the same day they are picked while the fragrance and flavor are at their peak. Before I left for the island, I had sugar, lemons and jars at the ready for my return. Another great opportunity to delve into Rachel Saunders’ Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. You can read about the many recipes I’ve cooked from her book by clicking on the category ‘In the Kitchen’, or search the the book title.
While we were picking berries we frightened a large male deer. And as we were headed back to the car with our bag of fruit we spotted quite a little gathering of American green tree frogs (Hyla cinerea). They were certainly in the right habitat, but they didn’t seem concerned about our presence. Click on image for a larger view.
In a small clump of vines we counted at least 8 frogs, 3 clustered on a single leaf.
And this one seemed to be posing for us. (Frog photos by Susan, used with permission.)
The berries were beautiful!
And since they had just been rinsed with light rain the day before, clean up was a snap. These berries, 1 3/4 pound sugar and 3 ounces fresh lemon juice yielded 6 8-ounce jars of jam plus a little ‘taster.’
I was inspired to make some bran muffins for breakfast the next day.
What a fun trip with friends this was! And the rewards will be enjoyed for months to come.