Blackberry Overload!

I had to get kids out of the house last weekend.  The husband demolished our deck to reinforce and rebuild it, so the boys were not free to frolic around the backyard, which means they destroyed my house instead.  Family room, bedrooms, kitchen…everything was a disaster.  We hit Chesterfield Berry Farm for organic blackberry picking.  Unlike peak pumpkin and strawberry seasons when you pay an arm and a leg for admission, blackberry season is FREE.  You only pay for the fruit, and the price of gas since the berry farm is in the middle of no where.  Things 2 and 3 enjoyed eating more than picking.  Thing 1 was content to run around the fields, run away from me, send me into panic mode when I couldn’t find him, etc.  I wanted to kick his butt when I finally caught him at the moon bounce.  Such a stinker, but we made it home alive with a mountain of blackberries to demolish. What’s so awesome about blackberries anyway?  They should be in your Super Fruit category since they are packed with bioflavonoids, Vitamins C and K, antioxidants, and fiber.  They supercharge your heart, gut, and brain. IMG_0037 For those that asked, Thing 3 is sitting in a Kokopax Classic Carrier. I bought it off Craigslist in 2010, but Kokopax is no longer in business.IMG_0036Now what to do with that big bucket of blackberries…

Blackberry Cobbler

We made three blackberry cobblers last night, adapting the Pioneer Woman’s recipe.  She calls for more sugar, but I used:

  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups blackberries, rinsed and patted dry
  • Ice cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 3-quart baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk sugar with flour and milk.  Whisk in the melted butter, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice (I used the juice and zest of half of a small lemon).  Pour the batter into the baking dish.  Layer blackberries evenly on top of the batter.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the blackberries.  Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 1 hour.

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One cobbler for my parents, one for my father-in-law, one for us.  No lie, this was breakfast with my morning coffee.  No regrets.

EASY Homemade Blackberry Ice Cream

Our next venture into blackberry heaven was homemade ice-cream, inspired by this Pinterest recipe.  I wanted to cut the calories a little (so I could continue eating cobbler for breakfast), so I substituted Greek yogurt for half of the heavy cream and used coconut milk instead of whole milk.  Greek yogurt made the ice cream amazingly creamy, and its healthy bacteria can withstand freezing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 container (7 oz) plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Puree the blackberries, then work them through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds.  Set that puree aside in a large bowl to wait for its friends to join the party. In a saucepan on low heat, combine cream, yogurt, and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth.  You do NOT want to heat this mixture quickly because milk proteins in the yogurt will separate from the whey.  Their divorce is permanent.  It’s very sad.  Did I impress you with my Alton Brown level of knowledge there? Add that mixture to the blackberry puree, along with the coconut milk and vanilla.  Give everything a good whisk, and pour it into a large freezer bag and freeze overnight.

On Day 2, beat the hell out of that freezer bag.  The frozen mixture needs to be broken into smaller pieces before it gets pulverized in the food processor.  Take out all your aggression, break it up, put those pieces in the food processor, and process until smooth.  This process took several minutes.

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Hello, beautiful.

You can transfer the ice cream to a loaf pan, cover with foil, and freeze–BUT if you use Greek yogurt, use another vessel.  The yogurt’s acidity has a yucky reaction to metal.  I used a Chinese take-out plastic container.  Add chocolate chips or whatever else at this point.  Freeze it until the ice cream is firm enough to scoop. IMG_0041

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Here’s our post-swim practice treat.

If you kept track, I used 8 cups of blackberries in two days.  Want to know how much is left?  At least 4 more cups.  Now I wish I knew how to can jam.

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