Wild Black Berries and an Awesome Cobbler

Wild Black Berries-One of Natures Gifts

Here it is the last of June 2012 and here on our beloved Green River the black berries are ripening. We haven't had the rain this that makes for big berries but there is an adequate supply of wild berries free for the picking along rural roadsides and for us, we have them around our old barn. Last year I was able to pick about 3 gallons for pies and a run or two of jelly and there is nothing so delightful to the palate or that than can compare to a blackberry cobbler.

As youngsters we picked black berries to sell to local folks and one restaurant in the mill village. We only got about $4 per gallon but picking the berries kept us occupied and out of trouble and the few dollars we made was ours to keep. There was always the scratched arms and purple fingers to show for our labor not to mention all the ones that were diverted to our mouths staining our lips as we sampled our wares with almost every handful that made it tour pail.

Mama always told us,"You boys watch out for snakes while you're picking those berries." Since the berries grew wild, the grass and underbrush around the berry plants was always high and snakes would lurk in the shadows., especially black snakes that might be laying wait for some bird feeding on the ripe berries. Here in WNC we also have copperheads and rattle snakes both poisonous vipers whose bite can be deadly. The copperheads blend well with the ground clutter and are hard to see. The rattle snake normally will shake their rattles when they feel they are endangered. Fortunately for humans both the poisonous varieties will move away rather than toward humans. Black snakes which are not poisonous will sometimes climb trees in search of birds or their nests. Around my barn I have seen some pretty impressive black snakes. These I don't bother since I know they eat rodents and also tend to to be territorial keeping other snakes away.

Picking black berries also carries another risk here in the mountains, those pesky chiggers. Any country boy or girl can tell you these small insects can inflict a mean bite that itches to no end. Thank goodness for new products we can rub on our skin or spray on our clothing to avoid these little demons from hell. Being out near the wooded areas, we also run the risk of ticks. I hear they are going more numerous this year. If you're out and about always check and be sure you haven't picked up a hitch hiker. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a disease carried by some ticks so a word to the wise should be sufficient.

I am a lover of cobblers and black berry is my all time favorite. The wild berries have the best flavor and an outing to pick berries with the reward of a cobbler is worth the effort. If you have access to some black berries you should treat yourself to a big cobbler. Here is a simple recipe I copied and pasted to my hub to share, even I can make this one. I like my cobblers a little on the tart side with little dough and a lot of juice. A little bit of vanilla ice cream would only be a bonus.

WILD BLACKBERRY COBBLER 1 c. flour2 tsp. baking powder1/2 tsp. salt1/4 c. butter1 1/2 c. sugar2 1/2 c. berries1/2 c.milk

Cook berries with 1/2 cup sugar. Cream butter with 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, beating smooth after each addition.

Pour batter in greased casserole dish. Pour juice and berries over all. Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Very good!

Many of the old timers like to use the wild black berries to make wine. Black berry wine has long been a traditional folk treatment for stomach ailments.

More by this Author

Comments 15 comments

Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 4 years ago from Moundsville, WV

The berries really are "the berries". Good to eat as cobbler, preserves and jelly, or right while picking. Great hub.

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Thanks Tom, long time no see, you been in the Moundsville Pen? Hoping you and yours are doing well.

ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 4 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

Just picked a bowl of blackberries yesterday here in north Georgia. I made a cobbler today before reading your recipe tonight. You can't beat blackberry cobbler!

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

I know what your're talking about and if any survives for a next day treat as ours did, it gets better. Thanks for stopping in, stay cool in that Georgia sun.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

This recipe sounds so good I can almost taste it.

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I have a good source of wild blackberries near my home, although they won't be ripe for a while. I love to pick them and eat them in desserts. Thanks for the cobbler recipe - it sounds like a great dessert to make!

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Thank you breakfastpop and AliciaC for stopping in to read, our cobbler was even better the next day!

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Interesting reading about your picking the blackberries as a boy and getting paid $4 a gallon for them. That probably sounded pretty good to you at the time. Reading this made me think of my trip to Oregon with my mother & niece many years ago. It was in the summer and blackberry bushes grew wild in so many places and the berries were the largest I had ever seen. Needless-to-say, we helped ourselves and ate freely of them. It would not have been hard filling a gallon bucket quite quickly! Never gave a thought to snakes...but in one park where we were the only human visitors at the time we saw fresh bear droppings! We exited quickly as there were also some wild apple trees. We did not want to press our luck!

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

How funny to think of the response of most people today to the possibility of snakes in the area compared to your mom's. :) It's good to have a walking stick to poke around ahead of where you will walk in search of wild blackberries for, as you said, they will move away if given a chance.

I'll always be thankful for a doc that recognized symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted fever when we first moved from Florida. It was a long holiday weekend and the next Tuesday would have been too late.

There's nothing like fresh blackberry cobbler and your recipe looks fabulous!

Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Super recipe. Good idea to warn of the hazards of picking in the USA. In Britain we don't have such problems. The blackberries usually ripen in late August through September. Country folk say they belong to the Devil once September is out. I can affirm that they make wonderful wine.

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Thank you Peggy W for stopping by to read and comment. About those bear droppings, I'd a got out of there too but in all likelihood the bear had long been gone. A good precaution because mama bears will attack if they have cubs.

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Thank you RTalloni for cropping i to read my hub and commenting. I like the idea of taking along a walking stick, you never know what kind a\of varmint might be hiding in the grass, four legged or even two legged ones.

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Thank you Gypsy Willow for your visit and your comments. Yep, blackberry wine is good for a lot that ails ya. Cheers!

TycoonSam profile image

TycoonSam 4 years ago from Washington, MI

Nice story. I remember picking blue berries as a boy but there were no snakes.

Thanks for sharing.

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

We called em huckleberries back then; the ones that grew in the wild were very good. Still we aslways watched out for snakes because those were the instructions from mama.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article