When I was growing up I knew all the best places to pick blackberries within walking distance of my house. Wild blackberries are relatives of the rose, and like rose bushes, blackberry bushes or brambles have thorns making the prize difficult to reach. But so worth the effort. I had a basic formula that I kept to back then--one berry for me, one for the bucket, another one for me, another one for the bucket. Somehow eating them while picking them, they tasted even better than when eaten at home. Of course it also lead to purple stained tongue and fingers as evidence of my consumption.
When asked what my favorite fruit is, I usually say raspberries or peaches but in truth, I probably love blackberries most of all. Because they are in season for such a short time and are usually terribly expensive, they seem like rare jewels and I tend to forget about them. Until they're in season again. Such an intense fruit and so delicate too, they are best used immediately. If stored gently preferably in a single layer, they can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen. In addition to being delicious, blackberries are a good source of vitamins A and C and also provide vitamin E and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.
I like blackberries mixed with other fruit, they combine well with all other berries or with peaches. Last week my friend Alton brought me several containers of blackberries from his cabin in the woods. In asking around for a great blackberry recipe I was given one that originally came from Nanci Main of The Ark Restaurant in Washington State. I modified her recipe greatly and this is the result.
Blackberry Pecan Crisp
3 cups fresh blackberries
1 Tablespoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoon butter in bits
1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
3 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons white sugar
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gently toss blackberries in flour. Put in shallow pyrex baking dish. Dot with butter. Combine all dry ingredients and pecans in a mixing bowl. Add melted butter and vanilla all at once. Spread crumbly topping over the fruit and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy and brown on top. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.