In our household, there are two major uses for rubus ursinus, the Pacific trailing wild blackberry: pie and jam. This berry is deliciously tart and packed with flavor; there’s a reason those of us in the know covet this berry beyond all others. On Sunday after our foraging trip we celebrated with a pie. The filling recipe is easy: four cups of berries, one scant cup of sugar, two tablespoons flour, and a tablespoon of melted butter. We like to make pies with a top crust only (more like a cobbler or crisp), so that it doesn’t get too heavy. Mom used butter and some rendered leaf lard as the fat in this crust. It’s pretty much the best pie ever invented.
Of course, it’s essential to have this pie with some vanilla ice cream. The contrast between the acidic fruit and the the sweet cream is heaven in a spoon.
The other main use for wild blackberries is jam. We use the berry jam recipe from the MCP Pectin package, though ironically we don’t actually include the pectin in this particular jam. Wild blackberries have a high concentration of their own natural pectin, so adding more would only cause the jam to become too firm.
Essentially, you boil six cups of crushed berries, then add eight cups of sugar (!) and bring it back to a boil for five or ten minutes. Ladle into sterile jars using a canning funnel and seal with clean two-piece lids, putting the jars into boiling water for ten minutes to remove air. The vaccum seal should form not too long after you take the jars out of the water.