Foraging Wild Fruits: Black Raspberries

When I was young we would go up on the neighbors back pasture and pick wild black raspberries. The fields had a barbwire fence that separated two pasture and rocks lined the fence lines. We would find out which side the cows were on and pick on the opposite side. We had many hours of fun plus the berries were great.

The berries were used for shortcake or made into a jam. As a matter of fact my first jam I made was when I was 8 years old and it was black raspberry.

When we first moved to my grandfathers farm there were black raspberries growing by the barn. I tried to clear them out but they were persistent and I finally gave up. Then I remembered picking them as a child and decided to straighten up the area a bit and make them easier to pick

I started by mowing around the patch to make picking easier and to discourage rabbits for eating the berry canes. It’s now a circular patch as that’s what it wanted to be. Why fight it? I mowed a path though the center and then cross ways. I usually place rooted sawdust or leaf mold on the paths. This makes it easier to mow, maintain and pick the fruit. The ground cover also feeds the soil and the plants. This year I added some posts so that I can get the canes to grow up and not have them hang on the ground.

I pretty much ignore the patch. I will cut out dead canes and am teaching the canes to grow up. I add a little manure in the fall and other than that the plants fend for their selves. This little patch supplies about twenty quarts of berries. I make fresh jam, jelly and freeze some for in the winter. And once in a while I will even make a pie.

If you are looking for wild black raspberries look around old pasture lines, where the woods meet an open filed or old farms. Just make sure to ask the property owners if you can pick the berries.

Its fun to harvest wild fruit and for me it brings back memories of hot summer days and trips to the pastures to harvest berries.

Tags: foraging for wild berries, black raspberries

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