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Nothing says summer quite like a basket full of fresh, plump blackberries – especially when you’ve handpicked them yourself!

Here in Victoria (well most of Vancouver Island, tbh), there is an abundance of blackberries that grow wild everywhere and take over any space they can find.

They’re usually ripe for picking around late July or early August and will last (depending on the heat and rainfall in any particular year) until mid-September.

These juicy treats are enough to delight the pickiest eater and make for a hearty mouthful on their own. But in case you’re in the mood to get creative and fashion them into a drool-worthy dish, we’ve got some recipes for you to try out!

Put on your favourite apron

With the rising temperatures and no end to summer in sight, how about an icy treat to cool the whole fam down?

Check out Country Grocer’s local fruit popsicle recipe by clicking here. With just two ingredients (four optional) and a handful of blackberries, you can create your own healthy summer snack!

For those who don’t have much of a sweet tooth and prefer their savoury eats, blackberries are still the way to go! Use this recipe to create a mouth-watering blackberry balsamic dressing that will liven up any salad.

Of course, to take advantage of these recipes, you’ll need to know where to find enough blackberries to sate your appetite! Instead of buying them at the store, here are a few places where you can pick fresh ones for free:

Areas in and around Victoria to search

  • The Galloping Goose (throughout Greater Victoria)
    Hop on your bike and start riding along the trail.
  • Tod Inlet (Saanich)
  • Panama flats
  • Elk & Beaver Lake (Saanich)
  • Quick’s Bottom (Saanich)
  • Around Gorge-Burnside Community Center (Saanich)
  • Seabluff Farm (Metchosin)
  • The residential side of the Esquimalt Lagoon
  • Macaulay Point (Esquimalt)
  • Fields behind Tillicum Mall
  • Local parks
  • You’ll find giant patches of them in almost any vacant field or along any rural roadway. Many jurisdictions will delay their removal for berry pickers, but it’s best to get to them as soon as the fruit is ripe.

Blackberry Picking tips

  • Take a pot or bag to carry them in
  • Don’t pick too low – that’s dog pee territory.
  • Don’t be greedy! Only take what you need – others are living by this rule so you can have some, so it is only fair you return the favour.
  • If possible try to wear long sleeves and long trousers because you’re likely to get caught in the bushes or stung by nettles and that hurts!
  • Eat or freeze your berries within 24 hours.
  • Don’t wash the berries until you are about to eat or freeze them. Otherwise, they’ll spoil quickly.
  • Aim to pick firm, plump looking berries – the squashed ones will go bad quicker and taint the rest of your batch.
  • If you get blackberry stains on your clothes, cover the blemishes in white vinegar and leave to sit for 30 minutes then rinse with cold water and wash as usual.

Happy blackberry picking!

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