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Blackberry Weeds & Cobbler

August 05, 2016

Our new property has a lot of blackberry weeds. Local old-timers tell us about playing here, not many decades ago, when it was all forest (that was later overtaken by blackberries). Today only a relatively small section of our land is still forested, and the forest is still full of blackberry brambles — tough, prickly-painful weeds to eradicate.

Blackberry by the handful

When weeds are wonderful! Blackberry is an invasive, fast-growing & hard to eradicate garden pest plant — except when it is offering up a lot of tasty fruit in summer!

Fortunately, picking loads of summer-ripe berries is a delicious preemptive weeding method. Each berry we keep out of the mouths of birds (that poop plantable seeds) or keep from falling directly to the earth (where they sprout anew) is a win. Plus, we get an abundant harvest of yummy berries. Don’t miss one of our favorite recipes below!

Other ways we’re keeping these voracious blackberry weeds at bay right now:

blackberry brambles

A small view of our wall of blackberry weeds — aka “the briar patch”

Taking a machete to green shoots traveling overhead and along the ground. If we don’t whack these fast growing shoots back, they will root into the earth soon and help the weeds cover more ground.

We’re also cutting out the berry clusters that only have hard, pithy fruit still attached. Once the best berries are picked and summer weather dries out, the remaining clusters on older fruiting stems will ripen, but they’ll never be very tasty. Yet, they will have the capacity to form new plants.

Tasty blackberry cobbler berries

Pick your fruit daily so none goes to waste or falls the ground to seed itself.

Staying on top of pulling volunteers wherever they appear on our property is also key. If you have fruiting blackberries, birds will poop seeds for you, thereby planting more brambles everywhere. Don’t ignore them! Young shoots are easy to pull; you may not even need gloves against those tiny prickles and roots.

These summer efforts won’t eradicate our briar patch, but we really don’t want to completely eradicate them. We like the fruit, and the wildlife that lives in this area does too — from the bees that pollinate the flowers to the birds, deer, bunnies and other unknown critters that call this area home. Come winter, we will go hard on the vines with our machetes, but just enough to keep this invasive plant in check.

What to do with your preemptive weeding berry harvest:

Blackberry margarita

Blackberry margaritas are a delicious way to reward yourself for preemptive bramble weeding (while you’re waiting for your cobbler to bake!)

We’ve made blackberry sauce, blackberry chicken, blackberry margaritas, blackberry mint juleps and several reduced sugar blackberry cobblers. And, since we’re hauling in about three to six pounds of berries everyday, we’re freezing them by the gallon to make blackberry jelly come autumn. Right now, it’s the cobbler we love the most!

Low sugar blackberry cobbler

Blackberry cobbler made with summer-ripe fruit topped with a lump-bumpy, rich crust sweetened with a touch of coconut sugar, which gives the crust a deep brown color. Yum!

Although I endeavor to do a lot of no-sugar, no-grain baking, I’m a fool for a traditional blackberry cobbler — made with wheat flour, butter and a bit of sugar. That being said, I hate a fruit dessert so over-sugared that the natural flavor of the fruit itself is lost. So, I’ve refined my recipe to call for about a cup and half less sugar than most cobbler recipes often suggest is necessary. And, as is traditional with cobblers, there’s no need to roll out the crust like you would for a pie. Easy-peasy!

Let me know what you think after you make one of your own.


Preemptive Weeding Blackberry CobblerPrint Print

Ingredients

  • 4-6 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed & picked over for bugs & prickles
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or regular granulated sugar)
  • dash of sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons melted & cooled unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Place baking rack in middle of oven. Place another rack below it, and put a lined cookie sheet on the lower rack to catch any bubbling over messes.

Fill a deep 8-9″ pie dish about 3/4 of the way full with berries. Sprinkle with cinnamon and toss very gently. Set aside.

Place sifted flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together with a fork. Pour in butter and blend quickly. It will be very buttery and slightly crumbly. Don’t overwork it or you may have a tough crust.

Scoop tablespoon sized clumps of dough into your palm and flatten slightly. Place each clump into an overlapping layer to cover the berries. If you have some extra dough, crumble it over the top. Don’t expect a pie-perfect look! The cobbled-together look is what gives cobbler it name.

Place filled pie plate onto the middle rack of the oven & be sure the cookie sheet is positioned below it to catch anything that bubbles over.

Bake 40-50 minutes or until berries are bubbly and the crust is a golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15-30 minutes so the liquids gel a bit and to keep your mouth from getting burned. (Since I don’t call for a thickener, expect lots of succulent juice.)

Serve warm or cold with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

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