What’s Cookin’ – Blackberries (Seasonal Foods)

Even before the local and sustainable food movement became popular, I have tried to incorporate foods into my menu based on whether or not they were in season and available locally.

As we raised our kids, one of the ways that we used to make them aware about foods was to frequently visit farmer’s markets and talk about how things are grown and raised, where certain foods come from, and how and why we eat certain foods at certain times of the year.  We would go apple picking and to the pumpkin patch in the Fall and stop at fruit and vegetable stands when we traveled.

It’s really amazing to me the number of people who do not know that bacon comes from pigs or who have never eaten freshly made mashed potatoes.  Seriously, the number of kids that I have met who have never eaten “real” mashed potatoes even at Thanksgiving is astounding.

So, what happens is that when a certain food is in season, we go overboard.  Blackberries, for instance.  There is a small window when really good fresh blackberries are in season.  That season is now so we have been eating blackberries in all sorts of ways.

This is an old picture, but I have several pints of fresh blackberries in the freezer ready to make jam.  Making jams and jellies is easy but time-consuming.  I’ll be making some soon, and, hopefully, what I make will be enough to share and last until the next batch of fresh blackberries comes in next year.

I make fresh fruit salads from Spring through Summer, but the actual fruits in them change as things come into and go out of season.  The fruit salads I have been making lately have included fresh blackberries.

To make my fresh fruit salad, all I do is to cut the fruit up into bite sized pieces and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar or Splenda.  If I am adding apples or bananas, I add them at the last minute, but often I cut the fruit a few hours ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

I made a fresh fruit tray with fruit dip for my daughter’s graduation party in early May.  It included fresh blackberries.  You won’t find those on a pre-made tray.

One of my favorite recipes using blackberries is Pioneer Woman’s Blackberry Cobbler.  It is super easy to make and super yummy served warm with vanilla ice cream.  The recipe calls for self rising flour, but if you don’t have any on hand you can easily use all-purpose flour.  For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1¼ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

One of my new kitchen items is an electric ice cream maker (thanks Sharla!) that I bought used from a friend.

I made some Blackberry Chip Ice Cream with it.  The recipe is in Ree Drummond’s new cookbook, but it is basically the recipe here with some semi-sweet chips added to it.  I chopped up a 4-ounce bar of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate and stirred the pieces in at the end prior to the final freezing step.  The kids were skeptical until they tried it.  It was oh so good, and I might have to make another batch before the blackberries are gone.

Fresh blackberries.  Enjoy them while you can.

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