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Southern France
Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pleasure of the Season: Blackberries

Wild blackberries on the lower terrace in the garden.

“Pleasures of the Season” is a series of posts which appear from time to time.  They focus on something special that occurs only seasonally, often fleeting, and something we anticipate.  The posts are sometimes food related, sometimes not, but highlight moments of what I’ve learned about living with the seasons since moving to Southern France.

The garden fruit has had its season, so now it’s time to turn to nature for the next round of jams: blackberries!

Wild blackberries grow throughout the village.  This can be blessing, but their thorny bramble does make them more of a weed than a welcomed vagabond.  Blackberry picking is one of my more painful berry experiences since I often get caught trying to get the upper most berry on the bush.  Getting unstuck is like a masochistic game of Twister.  One blackberry plant has thrived on a lower terrace of the garden for years, so we don’t bother it since it does seem to keep to itself and it does give use some fantastic blackberries without any tending.

The blackberry season can vary.  A few damp or rainy days can end the season abruptly, rending the berries moldy, or a long hot, dry spell could shrivel them up to nothing.  When I had more time, I would gather the berries in the morning and make jam in the afternoon, but now, I gather them when I can and freeze them until I have enough to merit a jamming session.  Perhaps not the most purist way to start the jam, but it’s clearly the one more adaptable to time restraints.  The berries freeze well and those that have not been earmarked as a breakfast item are often found on a tart later in the year.

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