Blackberries are Ripening Here!

Lake Seminole Resource Center

Lake Seminole Resource Center

Today we stopped into the Visitors Center.  The exterior is beautifully landscaped.  But the displays were disappointing.  There was a 10 minute movie, but we had left the dogs in the truck.  Although it was overcast and we were parked under a shade tree, we didn’t want them out of our sight that long.

Behind the Visitors' Center

Behind the Visitors’ Center

The real treat was roaming around outside the center.  Not only were the views beautiful, but we found ripe blackberries!  I ended up eating about two hands full of them.

Farther south, at Ann and Cecil’s place, blackberries were just beginning to bloom.  Yet here, they are already ripening.  Also, for the first time ever I found new poke plants growing among the standing skeleton’s of last years’ plants.  Usually winter storms flatten them.  I can only surmise that the area right around the visitors’ center is a very protected microclimate.

Dam view through the window

Dam view through the window

We drove to a nearby town today to pick up some groceries.  My eyes were way bigger than my freezer.  When we got home, the only way I could get it to fit was repackage everything in zip lock bags.  I really love traveling with a well stocked refrigerator and pantry.  Always the worry-wort, I want to make sure that if a storm hits and the road floods or trees block the road to town, we will have plenty of good food to eat!

Blackberries!

Blackberries!

On our way to town, we crossed a bridge that had a gorgeous view of the dam spillway.  I didn’t have my camera ready, so missed the shot.  On the way back, Ron leaned forward and I snapped a shot through the driver side window.  Ron was reluctant to stop the truck in the middle of a bridge for me to get out and take a picture.  Can you imagine that!  😀

Today was a low-key day for us.  I read and puttered around.  Ron did laundry.  The dogs got walks.

Yum!

Yum!

We probably should have done more while we can because it’s supposed to thunderstorm tomorrow and be rainy the day after that.  But we’ll just curl up inside with books, crosswords and the net and entertain ourselves.

How Sheba will manage being inside all day is yet to be seen.  She is definitely an outdoor dog, and prefers being outside in the rain to being inside.  But hopefully the rain will be sporadic so we can get a few good walks in.

Pokeweed with last year's skeleton still standing

Pokeweed with last year’s skeleton still standing

At first I thought this was a curled up leaf until I zoomed in on him.

At first I thought this was a curled up leaf until I zoomed in on him.

Triplet trees?

Triplet trees?

New tree growing inside rotted out base of older still-living tree

New tree growing inside rotted out base of older still-living tree

Spanish moss in trees across from our campsite

Spanish moss in trees across from our campsite

 

 

 

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. So, are you picking and eating poke? What do you do with it? What’s the specific thing that identifies a plant as poke, and not some other nasty-tasting thing?

    • Judy, I don’t eat poke except when the shoots first emerge in spring. After that, the literature says it is dangerously poisonous. Although one of my readers reports eating more mature poke stems with no harmful effects.

      As far as distinguishing what they look like, you have to look through books and web images until you know what to look for. They are easiest to recognize when the purple berries are ripe. They are very distinctive and once you see them, you will not forget them.

      They way I prepare them is is to cut the shoots when they are under 8″ high along with any of the young leaves that are still translucent. I boil a big pot of water, put the poke shoots in a smaller pot, cover them with boiling water and cook them a couple of minutes. At that point the water turns cloudy red. You pour that water off, then cover them with more boiling water and cook a couple more minutes. This time the water is just a little cloudy. You pour that water off, then cover with boiling water and cook them a couple more minutes. At that point, the water is clear indicating that all the water soluble toxins are gone. Always use boiling water. I have read that cold water will set the toxins. But wild edible literature always seems to err on the side of extreme paranoia. Unless I know otherwise, I’m very conservative with the way I prepare wild foods, though.

      The poke shoots have different tastes in different parts of the country, apparently. At home, ours taste like a combination of green beans and asparagus. Steve Brill in New York writes that they have a pungeant taste up there. I picked some in Florida one time that were so bland I threw them out after cooking them.

      They were a staple in the south during the Depression. They were also sold as canned greens (Allen brand) until a few years ago when there was no more demand for them. They are nutritious and high in vitamin content. I either brush them with melted butter and lightly salt them, or serve them with scrambled eggs.

      If you are serious about studying wild edible plants, I very highly recommend Samuel Thayer’s books. His knowledge is encyclopedic learned from experience and from extensive scientific study. I have a library of books, and his have a ring of authority and knowledge that none of my other books have. They are also the only books I have that demonstrate how to harvest underwater roots and tubers where other books just leave you to figure it out by yourself — if you can.

  2. Excellent photos & good eye for subjects, as usual. Hmmmm …. cozy domicile, book, crosswords & a fully stocked fridge. Don’t you feel like you got it made.

    • I really do feel like I have everything I could want! Such a secure, cozy, happy feeling!

  3. Don’t eat to many of those berries at once. 🙂

  4. Blackberries my absolute favorite! What a delight to find a patch to eat your heart out!
    Grocery shopping…I always stash food…will be interesting to take my first trip to the grocery… Hoping your storms aren’t too bad today…a day of cozy R&R. Our rain finally STOPPED…now their is tiny flurries. Sunshine by Sunday!

    • I always overpack on food. I always try to cut back, but then I think, “What if….”

      It’s the only thing I “what if” about. I’ve got thinking like a backpacker down to a fine art with the rest of my packing!

  5. Elizabeth in NC

     /  April 19, 2013

    YUM…blackberries…we ate them 3 times a day…in pies, growing up…had a huge patch in our backyard…had so many we even used them to make mudpies sometimes!!

    • Elizabeth, I got so tickled at the idea of using blackberries to make mudpies with!!! I know what you mean about eventually being overwhelmed by having so many of them, though! 😀

  6. Those black berries really look good.

  7. What fun, finding blackberries!
    Hope the poor weather missed you and everything is going great!

    • Yesterday the poor weather hit us, but we enjoyed a day of hibernating. This afternoon it was beautiful again. We are just loving it!

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