Wild blackberry picking in Kits + pie recipe

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A late summer means a long wild blackberry season and with temperatures hitting 28 by Thursday, expect to see swimming trunks/bikinis and ripe blackberries along the beach well into September.

In East Van, it’s more common to spot families and hipsters out picking with purple-stained lips. In Kits, there are tons of bountiful picking areas, but few pickers. So why not grab a bowl and give the birds a run for their money? You can pick enough for a crumble or a pie in under an hour.

(Where to pick + blackberry pie recipe after the jump)

WHERE TO PICK

The native blackberry (Rubus ursinus) loves logged areas. You’ll find it draped over fallen timber, stumps and rocks plus growing on slopes. I’ve seen blackberries under the south end of the Burrard Bridge, near Vanier park, the beach walking path running between Trafalgar and Balsam, the railroad tracks at West 7th and Arbutus and in Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Remember: If the berries are dark and so soft they’re almost falling off the bush, they’ll be sweet. If they’re dark and firmly stuck, they’ll be quite tart and are better for baking.

Ten minutes gets you a hefty bowl of goodness.

BLACKBERRY PIE

Pate brisee or traditional pie dough recipe
5-6 cups blackberries, rinsed, picked clean, patted dry (if you use frozen berries, defrost and drain them)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 Tbsp cornstartch

Make’n’bake

1 Place blackberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, almond extract, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Gently fold the berries until they are all well coated with sugar. Let sit for 30 minutes.

2 Preheat oven to 375°F. You should have two balls of pie dough, one for the bottom crust, one for the top crust. Roll out one of the balls of pie dough on a lightly floured surface to 12-inch diameter if you are using a 9-inch pie pan, or 13-inch diameter if you are using a 10-inch pan. Line the bottom of your pie pan with the dough. Chill in refrigerator while you roll out the bottom crust.

3 Roll out the second ball of pie dough for the top crust. Go for a lattice top. It’s trickier to pull off but it looks awesome when the berries are bubbling.

4 Spoon the berry mixture into the dough-lined pie dish. Weave strips of pie dough over the top of the fruit-filled pie dish. Use scissors to trim the edges to 1/2-inch from the outer edge of the pie pan. Fold the edges back over themselves. Crimp to seal the edges.

5 Place the pie on the middle rack of the oven. Put a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any juices that might bubble out of the pie while it’s cooking. Bake the pie in two stages. First bake it at 400°F for 30 minutes. Then place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pie to protect the edges and tops from getting too burnt.  Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until crust has browned and filling is bubbly. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Cool completely before serving.

Last modified: September 5, 2011

One Response to " Wild blackberry picking in Kits + pie recipe "

  1. Graham King says:

    The edge of Jericho park where the rabbits live is essentially a huge blackberry bush – lots of picking there in season.