It seems like apples get all the attention in the early fall, but there are a few other seasonal fruits out there … including one of my favorites, blackberries.
I loved picking them as a child – despite the brambles, skeeters, and snakes.
I actually never saw a snake. But brambles and skeeters loved me, sending me home with a hundred scratches and itchy bites.
The fact that I picked blackberries at all, despite the mosquitos’ and thorns’ obvious fascination with my extremely sensitive skin, is proof of my undying love for the juicy, midnight purple berry.
My mother’s partner John would make jam out of the blackberries – jars and jars of it. We’d eat it on toast, of course, or English muffins. But when no one was looking, my sister Suzanne and I would also sneak spoonfuls of jam straight out of the jar.
And then of course you could do the simple thing – blackberries and cream.
Or the even simpler thing – blackberries without cream. (Blackberries without cream are best eaten warm, in the sunshine, right out there with the briars and brambles.)
An eccentric old uncle or two might make blackberry wine. I can remember sipping some, out of a cut crystal glass, along with all my ancient old relatives. And later, making off with one of the bottles to share with a Southern beau, under starlight and moonbeams.
(I just realized, the only things I have ever stolen in my life have been spoonfuls of blackberry jam and half-finished bottles of blackberry wine! Here’s hoping no criminal mastermind ever reads this and uses my weakness for blackberries against me to join his heist against the National Gallery or Victoria & Albert … wait, wait, I’d be totally up for that!)
OKAY! Disregard everything you just read and let’s discuss the other thing you can do with blackberries: make a blackberry blackberry crumble or “crisp.” Here’s how I make vegan blackberry crumble.
Ingredients for Blackberry Crumble:
3/4 Cup Earth Balance or other Vegan Margarine (or 1/2 cup margarine, 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce)
1 1/2 Cup Oats (look for “Rolled Oats” or “Old Fashioned Oats” – NOT quick oats or steel cut)
1 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Unrefined Sugar
1 Cup Fresh Blackberries (approximately; at the supermarket blackberries come in little boxes that seem to equal a little more or less than a cup)
1/2 Cup Blackberry Jam or Preserves
1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Cooking Spray or Vegetable Oil
Directions for Blackberry Crumble:
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9×9 inch pan with cooking spray, or brush lightly with vegetable oil.
Mix oats, flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, heat the Earth Balance in the microwave until it melts (about 30 seconds). You could also melt this in a pot on the stove if you don’t have a microwave. If you’re using applesauce, add it to the melted margarine.
Pour the margarine or margarine/applesauce mixture into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix well.
Press about 1/2 of the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan to form a crust. (You may need to use slightly more than 1/2 – that’s ok).
Now, in a separate bowl, mix the blackberry jam with the blackberries. If the blackberries are very large, you may want to slice them into slightly smaller pieces.
Spread in an even layer over the crust, stopping about one inch short of the sides of the pan. (The fruit will spread as it bakes in the oven.)
Sprinkle your remaining oat mixture on top. You’re just doing a “topping” now, not trying to create another crust layer.
Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.
For prettiest results, let cool before cutting.
Then eat … and enjoy!
You can make this with any kind of berries, not just blackberries. Another good combination is raspberries with raspberry preserves.