Hello, Readers! We are still writing and updating about our new (to us) house. I actually completed my first full week living here and I have many aches, pains, bruises, and pricks to prove it! Keep reading and sending us comments and let us know how we can improve the website and what we might be missing. I am in the process of developing a new site through iWeb (a Mac-based program) and I’m hoping to research some new websites to see who might be the most user-friendly so that we can have more functionality on our blog. Keep checking back for updates as we will be updating often!
But back to our home’s tastiest discovery; a blackberry bush over the fence! We have a fence that separates our property from the school behind us and we found a blackberry bush was gently dropping berries on our property – finders keepers! Here’s a view of one half of our yard with the blackberry bush on the right growing over the fence:
So while Mom was in town last week, we went out to pick a few berries to have for dessert and, OUCH! We found out they are worse than rose bushes when it comes to pricklies! I guess that explains why they are so expensive in the store – hrmmm…. So our Blackberry bush discovery became both a happy accident and a massive pest, all at the same time! Yet another trivial nuance about the Pacific Northwest – berries grow like weeds out here! There is something about our very acidic and volcanic soil which they absolutely love and so we have every berry varietal known to man growing wild (and cultivated) our here: blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries, black raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, marionberries, huckleberries, berries eeeeeverywhere! Here’s a close up view of our blackberry bush:
But back to this blackberry nuisance. One of the best parts of our property is actually a tree that is just on the other side of our property that grows shady over our backyard. It’s great for privacy and it’s big and leafy and green, so it’s really great for eating breakfast outside in the morning as it covers up most of our Eastern sun – score! So when we started picking these blackberries, we noticed that this blackberry had literally “infested” the bottom of this tree with its stickers and prickers! My Mom, being a wonderful gardener, told us that if we don’t take care of it, the Blackberry will suffocate the tree and it will die – oh, no! So it was either the shady tree or the blackberries. Not to mention all of those blackberries were coming out the Magsters (our dog) on the other end – yuck! So we spent most of the day Friday clearing out blackberry bush and trimming back overgrown ivy, which was weeding its way under our fence and up our evergreen trees – never a good sign. We also cleaned up our backyard of construction debris (yes, 4 years later!), and began the painful process of weed pulling and Round Up treatments. Here’s a little in-process photo:
But what about those pesky (yet tasty) blackberries?
Well, not to be deterred, I sat down outside with garden gloves, tongs, scissors, and a bag filled with blackberry branches and picked myself about 3.5 cups worth of Pacific Northwest Oregon blackberries, all for free! Gotta love livin’ off the land! I looked up on FoodNetwork.com a couple of Blackberry Pie recipes until I sort of combined a few aspects of several different recipes to create one that would work with the ingredients I had because I’m lazy and didn’t feel like running to the store. So here’s basically what I came up with:
L’s Better-than-Store-Bought Blackberry pie!
(Yes, it’s a smily face – ha ha!)
You can certainly make your own or take a little help from the store like I did 😉
1 Package, Pillsbury Pie Crusts (Freezer Section)
1 egg + splash of water for the crust
3.5 cups, Fresh Blackberries (stickers optional!)
1/2 cup, Sugar (I used raw cane sugar and it tasted great!)
1/4 cup flour
Juice of 3/4 of a fresh lemon (I swear by using fresh if you’ve got it)
Dash of Cinnamon
Couple of Pinches of Nutmeg (from the nut, never pre-ground – oh, it’s SOOO good)
Follow the Pie Crust instructions for defrosting. Once defrosted, roll out and place 1 crust in your pie dish. Pinch the sides together so that you have no extra crust.
For the filling. Wash your blackberries and remove any stickers that might be straying. Put them in a bowl and combine with remaining ingredients. Gently mix (I would recommend using a plastic or silicone spatula for this technique – and go slow or you’ll have blackberry blood all over you! Don’t use a wood spoon – it will stain!). Pour the blackberry mixture into your pie dish and spread evenly.
Place the remaining pie crust over the blackberry mixture and create slits in the top (smily face is optional). Be sure to pinch off the sides as well to get a good seal on the crust. Brush on the egg mixture as best you can and then wrap the sides of the pie dish/crust with tin foil, place on a cookie sheet, and bake! I set my oven for about 375 and it was in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. After about 20 minutes of baking, remove the tin foil and continue to bake until the crust is a golden sunshine-y color. Enjoy!
I’ll be the first to admit, the pie didn’t last 24 hours! It was so good, in fact, that Mom called my dad on the East Coast at midnight to tell him how good it was. Mmmmm…..
So there ya have it! We’re still discovering and enjoying many things about our new home. It’s all an adventure, we hope you stay tuned for the journey!