Berry Compote

IMG_8309After getting all the remaining Transparent apples converted into pies, I started picking some of the abundant blackberries. Lainie, our 4-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, grazes the lower 3 feet of the bushes, carefully pulling off the ones about to drop. She holds her lips back just a bit, and delicately holds the berry in her front teeth before pulling it off, by instinct or just clever? Anyhow, she makes for good company. I’m sure she doesn’t get as many thorns poking her shins and forearms like I do. Within several minutes of enjoying a late summer breeze while picking, I had enough to make the berry compote for an upcoming dessert, where they’ll be served with Glazed Polenta & Almond Cake.

This compote is best made with fresh berries, but no one will turn their noses up at it if you serve it mid-winter made from berries frozen the summer before.   Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, & Logan berries all work well in the recipe, whether they’re used solely or mixed with some of the other berries. Continue reading

Blackberry Pie

IMG_4842The best blackberry pie is one made from berries you have spent time picking.  Choosing all the ones that are just right, and leaving the others for another day, or for the birds.  You may get a scratch or two, but it is so worth the pain.  We use sticks with hooks on the ends for grabbing the long vines that are out of reach but laden with heavy purple fruit.

When we built our house, we left a clump of Himalayan blackberries in the dog yard, for easy picking.  In planning our chicken runs, we ran double fences with a 2’ no-man’s-land strip, which the blackberries have filled.  Easy picking from two sides.  Although there are lots more on the property, these two areas quickly provide a pie’s worth of berries in about 15 minutes.

We dry pack them in plastic bags for the freezer, I make unbaked pies also for the freezer (to be baked later in the winter), and fresh pies just because it’s summer and we should be enjoying them!          Continue reading