Blackberry picking with my grandmother usually entailed jaggers, chiggers, and ticks. Oh my! So when we bought our house, I planted a thornless blackberry vine for an easy harvest.
This year our vine finally produced enough berries for both us and the birds. The boys picked the ripe berries each day for almost two weeks. They resisted the temptation to eat the fruit off the vine, so I could make them a cobbler. (Although I suspect a few found their way into those little bellies.)
I thought of my Grandma as the smell of those warm berries and buttermilk batter filled the house. The Summer before she died, my eighty-nine year old grandmother turned my picked berries into jam while I napped on her couch. I was covered in scratches, sweat, and later to be discovered malicious little chiggers. She convinced me to rest before picking up the kids from summer camp. When I woke up, she had already finished my preserves. I'll cherish that memory forever.
She would be proud of her great-grandsons for picking and saving all those berries, just as sure as she would have laughed at the one who licked his bowl clean.
Here's the recipe, if you'd like a bowl of your own. You can lick it. I won't tell. :)
Fresh Blackberry Cobbler
8 cups fresh picked blackberries. (I don't know if frozen work or not.)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3-1/2 cup of sugar (depending on sweetness of the berries)
Mix cornstarch and sugar together, then stir into berries. Pour berries into a 9x13 casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling and juicy.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat but regular is fine.)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
Sift dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
1 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir vanilla and melted butter into the buttermilk. The butter should harden into little flakes.
When berries start to bubble and release their juice, stir buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients until just mixed. Then spoon like drop biscuits on top of the berries. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
Return to oven for another 20 minutes or until the topping is cooked.
Amy spent her childhood in Melbourne, Australia, where her parents were church planters. After returning to the States, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia became home.