Ripening blackberries in the Georgia Mountains bring back a host of tasty memories.
Easy Blackberry Cobblers were a summer treat. Fresh picked and cooked right at home!
Granny Lou swapped her long dress for overalls and borrowed a pair of boots from Grandpa Julius to enter into the blackberry patches. The boots were greatly oversized and arrived at her destination before she did. Mama said, ‘Here comes the boots. Granny Lou will be on after while.”
She gathered berry buckets and a gooseneck hoe, which doubled as a walking stick and snake prod around clustery vines. ‘Don’t play with snakes; go for the head. When you enter the field, be armed, else you are buzzard bait for the enemy.” Hay baling strings were soaked in kerosene oil and tied around ankles to ward off chiggers and bugs. Green grasshoppers spring up in tall sage fields, spitting tobacco juice on us.
Fat birds flew and fussed in tangled bushes because we plundered their food source. “Don’t ever tear down a bird nest. If you do, the mama bird will hunt you down. You will hear a rapid pecking upon your windowpane late at night. She will cry tears of blood and say, “You stole my wee, wee nest. You stole my wee, wee nest.” If she can get inside, she will peck your eyes out and fill them with bird droppings for breaking up her home. When you go outside, she will swoop down on your head and take hair strands for her next nest. You will wander these hills, slobbering like a mad dog. So think twice before you harm nature.”
Clusters of luscious plump blackberries hung among many sharp thorns. Granny approached the task with study and caution, as if confronting a mad cat with dangerous claws. Impatience drew blood. “Handling berries is like dealing with people. There is good fruit in thar’, but you t’ reach through the thorns to gather the good. Thorns have purpose.”
Soon the buckets were filled and rounded over like purple hats. Our fingers and lips were purple too. Granny Lou jested, “We’ll have t’ dose up on iron when we get back home.” She hoisted me onto small, but strong shoulders for a ride back home. I patted the shiny, silver hair bun like a horse. Huffing and puffing up the hills she sang:
“The old gray mare,
She ain’t what she used to be.
Aint’ what she used to be,
Many long years ago.”
We stopped to rest under aged trees with thick boughs bending near the earth. She picked and wove together green glossy leaves, fashioning a small head crown. Blue and crimson wildflowers served as jewels. This natural creation seemed to have a touch of magic for young’uns.
Sometimes she caught June bugs (metallic green beetles with wings). Strings tied to prickly legs made dandy toy airplanes, especially when the strings crossed and they crashed, only to take to air again until she turned them loose.
I helped Granny Lou wash and look the blackberries over for twigs. They were placed in a large pot to boil for juice. Then the juice and sugar were measured carefully and mixed for jelly. There was no such thing as store bought pectin. She tested the gelling perfection with a saucer dipped in the hot mixture. When three drops of purple juice ran into one big drop, the jelly was ready to pour into jars.
Cooling jars made popping sounds when they sealed. She raised thankful hands of praise saying, “Thank th’ Lord, another one sealed, another one saved.” Some of the berries became blackberry cobbler. She winked as we ate it. “Be careful none of that splatters on your noggin’; your tongue will slap your brains out tryin’ to get to it.”
The story for this recipe was written by Barbara Wodall Taylor, author of It’s not My Mountain Anymore.
Below are some other Blackberry Recipes from our Archives!
Always fresh is the best but when they are out of season, frozen or canned will work for a delicious blackberry cobbler or pie!
We hope you have enjoyed our Easy Blackberry Cobbler recipe!
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