From the Blackberry Patch :: Lessons Learned + Jam and Cobbler


from the blackberry patch lessons learned jam cobblerThorns, bugs, heat, and backbreaking manual labor … I love it! It’s blackberry time! This is usually my first project as soon as the school year is over and this year is no different.

I have an ENORMOUS patch of wild blackberries that grows beside my house. When they first become ripe, I spend days upon days, and hours upon hours picking the best berries … which gives a person a lot of time to think.

My daughter will be a senior in high school this year and I am already dwelling on what her future holds. As I weathered all the challenges to harvest a gallon of blackberries, I realized that there were lessons to be shared from this simple act of picking blackberries.

Lessons Learned From the Patch

Do The Hard Work — It Is Worth It

Picking blackberries, just like so many other things in life, is hard work. The effort it takes to achieve those jars of homemade jam is well worth it. We spend the whole year enjoying the bounty of our effort. The jam that is not shared with friends is slathered on biscuits and drizzled on ice cream and even transformed into blackberry vinaigrette.

Sometimes You Just Need a Change of Perspective

I often find on my blackberry forays that if I just squat down, move to another side of the bush or just step back a minute, I see tons of blackberries I did not see before. Life is like that. In order to see the abundance all around you, you just might need to change your perspective a bit. I am convinced that we are meant to lead abundant, satisfying lives. I have not always known this. I hope my daughter heeds this advice and learns this lesson sooner than I did.

Go For It!

You have to brave the bugs and the thorns to get the best blackberries. In your life, you will want something that seems out of reach. Go after it anyway! Risk the bug bites and the blood loss to attain your goals. You will thank yourself later!

Be Prepared for the Task

Risking blood loss and bug bites is a great idea, but you can minimize the chance of such worries with just a little preparation. I wear long pants, long sleeves and boots in order to go pick blackberries. I look absolutely ridiculous in the June heat, but it does minimize how often I am scratched by thorns or bitten by mosquitoes or infested with chiggers. This same idea will apply in life. If you have a goal and it involves some level of risk, then do everything you can to prepare for it.

Picking blackberries … it’s more than just finding the ripest berry.

More From the Patch {Must Try Recipes!}

While picking gives me time to reflect, I also think about the task at hand — finding the best berries and deciding what I am going to do with my harvest. As I mentioned, I have an ENORMOUS patch beside my house. It produces so many berries, I have to invite friends and neighbors over to take advantage so they don’t go to waste.

And I’m not the only one experiencing a surplus of berries. Stores and roadside stands are brimming with this seasonal favorite, and you can often find a great deal.

Yes, they are delicious by themselves, but there are also a lot of great recipes you can try on your own. Two things usually happen to my harvest of blackberries … jam or cobbler. Here are my favorite recipes friends and family rave about.

Black and Blue Berry Jam

Follow the directions on the box of pectin for freezer jam — with one major difference. Crush the blackberries and strain through a fine mesh sieve. This removes a lot of the seeds, but not all. Then, mix blueberries in with the blackberry juice to give the jam some body. Viola! Delicious and Unique, Black and Blue Berry Jam.

Dress up your jars of jam and they make great gifts!

Mom’s Blueberry Cobbler

I use my mom’s tried and true method, cuppa, cuppa, cuppa … really, that is what she called it. Super easy, too. Bonus: this recipe can be used for any type of fruit cobbler.


  • 1 cup of self-rising flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of blackberries sprinkled with sugar
  • 1/2 a stick of butter divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use half of your butter (1/4 of a stick) and let it melt in the bottom of your pan. Set aside. Mix sugar and flour together. Then add your milk. Blend until ingredients are moistened, but do not over do it or your crust will be tough. Spread a layer of fruit in the bottom of the pan then add most of your crust mixture. Spread the rest of the fruit on top of that then add the rest of the crust mixture. Cut the rest of your butter in small pieces and add to the top. Finally, sprinkle with a little more sugar and pop it in the oven. It will need to bake for about an 45 minutes to an hour, according to what size pan you use.

The best way to eat cobbler is straight out of the oven with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream! Wonderful!

Enjoy Harvest Time

Blackberry picking is one of the simplest joys. I love the quiet, the time to think, and I especially love the jam and cobblers that I produce with my bounty. Being a mom is not without its scratches, bugs and hard work, but once again it is all worth it when I see that my daughter is growing into a wonderful young woman.

What advice would you give your own child as they prepare to enter that big world on their own? Do you have a delicious blackberry recipe to share?


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