For about 47 weeks a year, I curse the briars which cover our property. I have numerous snagged sweaters and quickly learned to wear a canvas barn jacket when I wander the fields in winter. When small, my children would come home with scratches on their arms and legs and tears in their eyes from the rambling thorns. I could usually keep them within sight by warning that there were ‘briars over there’; that often kept them from wandering outside the confines of mowed grass.
We are now in that three to four week period where the briar magically transforms into Blackberry bushes. I have been up very early every morning for the past week, trying to beat the heat and insects to wander carefully through the brambles, picking pails of blackberries. I have about twenty jars of jam and several bags of frozen berries and am already envisioning blackberry sauce over cheesecake this winter.
Long sleeves and jeans in June are well worth the discomfort for these delicious berries and not just for the taste. Researchers have known for quite some time that berries contain antioxidants which help to fight cancer causing free radicals. A study at the University of Ohio has found that blackberries are the most potent cancer fighting berries of them all, by nearly 40 percent.
In another week or so, I will be cursing the horrible briars which bring me so much joy through my morning toast with peanut butter and blackberry jam. If you are looking to pick some for yourself, you had better hurry, the shoulders of the roads have been busy with pickers and the season is very short.