By Erin O’Donnell, Editor, Kansas Women Bloggers
About five years ago, my mother-in-law brought us a blackberry vine. It was from the bush that grew at her parents’ farm in New Mexico, where my husband spent his summers growing up. After Pop passed away, the farm was sold, but a little piece of it still grows here in Kansas.
The year after we planted it, the blackberries came on strong. It was exciting to watch them turn from green to red to black, and then brave the brambles to harvest the ripe ones. Believe me, you don’t want to get stuck on these thorns. They mean business.
But then we had to fix the house’s foundation at the very corner where the blackberry bush grew. It killed me to have to dig it up, and the attempted transplant didn’t take. Just look what we lost, and right before the berries started ripening!
Fortunately, a few years later, the blackberries are back in force in their original location. Here on the side of our house they can climb the side fence and stay mostly out of the rabbits’ reach. But not my husband’s.
It’s amazing how quickly they produce. We can pick a cereal bowl full in the morning only to go back at sunset and find a couple handfuls more that have ripened in the day’s sun. When they fall off the vine at the slightest pressure, you know you have a perfect berry. Talk about eating local. Bonus: ours are certified organic, by me.
So what do you do with all those black beauties? You make a crazy good All-American blackberry pie! The one drawback is the seeds, but I’ve just learned to muscle through them and keep toothpicks in reach. We’ve cheated and used frozen pie shells, but if you have a way with homemade crust, don’t let me stop you.
Homemade Blackberry Pie
You will need:
4 1/2 cups blackberries
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 3/4 cup cold water
1 Tbsp milk
1-2 Tbsp cinnamon-sugar mixture
In a large bowl, combine berries, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch, and water. Prep a 9-inch pie pan with bottom crust, pour in berry mixture, and put on top crust. Seal tightly. Cut vents in the top. Smear a tablespoon of milk across the top crust and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar to taste. Cover the outer edge of the crust with aluminum foil and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, remove foil, and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove to wire rack and cool for an hour.