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"O, blackberry tart, with berries as big as your thumb, purple and black, and thick with juice, and a crust to endear them that will go to cream in your mouth, and both passing down with such a taste that will make you close your eyes and wish you might live forever in the wideness of that rich moment."
~ How Green Was My Valley, Richard Llewellyn, 1939
This is purple prose that you can taste! Blackberry, Bramble, Bumble-Kite, Bramble-Kite, Bly, Brummel, Brameberry, Scaldhead, and Brambleberry ... whatever name you use for these delicious berries, September 12th is Blackberry Day, a traditional berry picking day, related to a traditional (and statistical date ) when blackberries reach their peak ripeness in the English Midlands. But be sure to pick them before Devil's Spit Day, October 11, which is the date of Old Michaelmas Day. In British folklore, this is the day the devil prowls the land, fouling the remaining berry harvest making them unfit to eat! It is said that when St. Michael expelled Lucifer from heaven, he fell from the skies and landed in a prickly blackberry bush. He cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, and stamped and spat on them (or worse), so that they would be unfit for eating. As it is considered ill-advised to eat them after this date, a Michaelmas blackberry pie is traditionally made from the last of the season. This delicious tartan is woven from the delectably named weaving colours of: "Blackberry", "Blackcurrant" and "Honey Flower." 🫐 🍓 😈 🫐 🍓 😈
"Blackberries are red when they're green."
Wild blackberries have many special cultivars and descendants that are equally delicious!
'Marion' (marketed as "marionberry") is an important cultivar that was selected from seedlings from a cross between 'Chehalem' and 'Olallie' (commonly called "Olallieberry") berries. 'Olallie' in turn is a cross between loganberry and youngberry.
Folklore in the United Kingdom says that blackberries should not be picked after Old Michaelmas Day (11 October) as the devil (or sometimes the Púca, a Celtic spirit said to be a shape-changer which may help or harass rural or marine communities) has made them unfit to eat by stepping, spitting or fouling on them.
There is some rationale behind heeding this legend as wetter and cooler weather often allows the fruit to become infected by various molds which give the fruit an unpleasant look and may be toxic.
This tartan, designed by Carol A.L. Martin, uses the deliciously evocative weaving colors of "Blackberry, "Blackcurrant" and "Honey Flower."
If blackberries are in season where you live, click the ripe berries for a delicious blackberry cobbler recipe from The Pioneer Woman.
And remember ... blackberry fruits are red before they are ripe, leading to the old expression that "blackberries are red when they're green".