I can’t believe its mid August and the wild blackberries around here are just coming on! They’re usually done and gone by now. I’ve been watching them the last week or so, trying to gauge how many plump berries hung on thorny branches, begging to be picked.
I’ve taken walks and picked a few blackberries along the way, but I wanted enough to DO something with. I love to freeze them on cookie sheets and throw them in smoothies for breakfast. Or make blackberry jam. Or toss them in a salad. This year I also want to try blackberry liqueur. I need more than a handful of ripe berries to satisfy my cravings.
Today when the Internet told me the temperate outside hovered below 70 (it lied), it seemed like a perfect excuse to scout the wild blackberry brambles. Of course, once rumors of my expedition leaked out, I had ‘helpers’ who wanted to come along. Armed with buckets and colanders (and, I have to admit, a more optimistic outlook than reality delivered), we set off for the wild unknowns in the abandoned lot across the street.
The ripe berries, plump and juicy, hovered high above our heads. Most within our reach were hard round shades of pink or green. After 10 minutes out in the hot sun we also realized the weather guys online lied to us. But, we pressed on.
We managed to collect enough berries this time around for a batch of freezer jam with enough leftover for a double batch of Blackberry Oatmeal Bars. (Think fruit crisp in finger food form.) Delicious.
Here’s the recipe. I’m thinking you’re gonna want to double it too. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Blackberry Oatmeal Bars:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2 cups blackberries (place in a medium saucepan and crush them with a potato masher)
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Combine above ingredients and bring to boil.
Add 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water. Stir into berry mixture. Once it starts thickening some, turn heat down to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a mixing bowl combine:
½ cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup regular flour
1 cup oats
2 tablespoons flax seed
2 tablespoons uncooked quinoa
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup melted butter
Mix together and press all but one cup of mixture into bottom of 9×9 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and spread blackberry mixture over top of crust. Sprinkle remaining oatmeal mixture over top of fruit. Return to oven for another 20-25 minutes.
Allow to cool completely. Cut into squares. Devour.
(It’s also good warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you’re feeling extremely naughty!)
PS If you don’t happen to live in an area where wild blackberries abound like they do in the Pacific Northwest, you can use frozen berries to get the same results.