Blackberry harvest

The hatch marks trace in a tangle down my arms and twist around my ankles. If you didn’t know better, you’d think I ran into a pack of feral kitties in a brier patch. Close. Sorta.

 

On Saturday my friend, Rick, and I headed out on a blackberry picking expedition. It started with a menu suggestion – I wanted salmon for supper – and morphed from there.

 

“How about salmon with blackberry chutney?” I suggested — insisted. Soon, I was planning to make blackberry syrup, blackberry cobbler (his idea, actually), blackberry pancakes and blackberry margaritas. Two out of five isn’t bad. But it took a few scrapes to get there.

 

Blackberries, cursed by gardeners for their thorny ways and hailed as an antioxidant marvel, are plentiful in northern California this time of year. And the biggest, juiciest, plumpest linger along waterways.

 

 

Christy Lochrie
Photo credit: Christy Lochrie

 

We scraped through the bushes of French Gulch, suffering a scrape here, a snag there and a poke everywhere. All told, we collected some three pounds of berries. Then settled into the creek for a cool-off period.

 

The cobbler never materialized. Ditto for the syrup. But I spotted a “butterfly” rock in the creek.

Photo by Christy Lochrie

Photo by Christy Lochrie

 

And, to soothe the picking pains, we later blended up some yummy ‘ritas. But nothing compares with the chutney, created from fresh-picked berries. It was a flavor explosion, equally yummy on salmon and goat cheese. Hope you enjoy the chutney — and the pickings — as much as we did.

 

Recipe is modified from Food Network, Canada. Original here.

 

As modified for salmon and an on-hand bounty:

 

Blackberry Chutney

 

Ingredients:

 

1 red pear, peeled, cored and diced

1 lime, juiced

1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1/2 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, pressed and minced

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup dried currants

2 cups fresh-picked blackberries

1/2 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated

 

Directions: In medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine sugar, lime juice, onion, vinegar, garlic, pear and currants. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add blackberries and ginger and let simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and carefully to keep from crushing berries. Chutney will thicken as it cooks. Let cool slightly and serve over salmon – and cheese.

 

-Christy

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