Blackberry Cobbler and a Berry-Loving Dog

Rusty likes blackberries.  It came as quite a surprise to me.  We had gotten Rusty from the shelter in 1999 when he was four months old.


At the time, we lived on two acres in a rural area on the Ohio/Indiana border called Blue Jay.  One day, I was preparing blackberries and looked down to see Rusty staring expectantly at me or rather, at the plump blackberry in my hand.  I had never given a tart, wild blackberry to a dog before, but that’s what he seemed to want.  He loved it.  Luckily, I had buckets of berries picked from our wild thicket in the backyard, so he got a fair share of our bounty.

I took Rusty with me when I went out to pick berries – not always a good thing for me.  I had taken off my straw hat for a minute and looked around to see this.


I wasn’t happy that my hat was all gnawed around the edges.

I scolded him a little, but not enough to warrant this sad reaction.

A year later, I wrote a piece for a web site about Rusty and his favorite fruit.

BLACKBERRY TIME IN BLUE JAY –  Rusty, our year-old hound, seems to know when the blackberries are ready for picking.  He takes off toward the back yard on a brisk trot, straining at his leash  – past the asparagus bed and rhubarb, along the border of the vegetable garden, down to the very edge of the property where the wild blackberries grow.  Rusty plucks off all the berries he can reach, always choosing the choice center berry, ignoring the thorns that prickle his nose.  We still have plenty of dark, lustrous berries to carry back to the house in our graniteware bucket to cook up into summertime treats such as Blackberry Cobbler.

That was the last summer I could put on my tattered straw hat and take Rusty down to the blackberry patch.  My husband’s condition worsened and we had to move to a property I could manage alone.   David has been gone for over 7 years, but Rusty is still with me, an elderly 12-year-old, and I still get some blackberries at the farm market and make that good Blackberry Cobbler from a recipe found in an old Farm Journal Pie cookbook.

BLACKBERRY COBBLER

¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tblsp. cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
4 cups blackberries
1 T butter
½ tsp cinnamon or ¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for one minute, whisking constantly.   Remove from heat and gently stir in the blackberries.

Pour this mixture into an ungreased 10” x 6 x 2 inch baking dish or a 1-½ qt casserole.

Dot with butter and sprinkle with spices.

DOUGH:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tblsp. granulated sugar
1-½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ cup shortening
½ cup milk

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

Stir in the milk.

Drop spoonsful of dough over the hot fruit filling.

Bake in a 400 F degree oven about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling.  Cool slightly on a wire rack.

Serve in bowls with cobbler juices.  Best when served warm.

6 servings 

Rusty still gets an occasional ripe blackberry tossed his way.

Good Blackberry Jam


Back in the 1980s and 90s when my husband, daughter and I lived in rural Blue Jay, Ohio, on the Indiana border, we had all of the wild blackberries we could use.  I loved to pick them, thorns and all, and I loved the sharp flavor of the berries.  Now, I pick up thornless, huge, beautiful blackberries at the farmer’s market and I don’t think they have the exceptional taste of the wild ones, but they’re very good and they make a good jam – without having to fight the thorns.

This recipe is from a flyer inside a Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin package that goes back to my country-life days.

GOOD BLACKBERRY JAM

  • Servings: 7 half-pints
  • Print

  • 4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 pouch of Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin

Have 7 half-pint jars, lids and caps sterilized   Let lids stand in hot water until ready to use.

Crush blackberries lightly with a potato masher.

Pour berries into a large 6 or 8-cup pot.

Measure the sugar into a large bowl.   Be careful to measure level cups of sugar.

Cut open the top of the pectin pouch and have it standing in a cup near the stove.

Mix the sugar with the crushed berries and place on high heat, stirring constantly.  Continue to stir until the mixture comes to a full, rolling boil (one that cannot be stirred down).

When mixture is at a full, rolling boil, add the liquid pectin and continue to stir for exactly one minute.  Remove pan from heat and skim off any foam from the surface.

Ladle the jam into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/8 inch head space.

Wipe off edges of jars and apply lids and caps.

Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  Begin timing when water has returned to a boil after inserting the jars.  Remove jars to a rack to cool.  Press on lids to be sure they have sealed.

See this web site for good information on home canning.

Yield:  7 cups (half-pint jars)

Jam may take up to two days to set properly.  Refrigerate any open jars.

Blackberry Mountain

I found the recipe for this delicious dessert in an old cookbook, Our Favorite Recipes – Queen City Cake Decorating Club – Cincinnati.  I felt the original version was much too sweet and that it needed more berries, so this is my adapted recipe for a very easy, quick way to enjoy summer’s fresh blackberries.

BLACKBERRY MOUNTAIN

  • ¼ cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. milk
  • 1-½ cups fresh blackberries
  • Additional 1-1/2 Tblsp. granulated sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and melt butter in 9-inch pie plate while oven is heating.   Heat until butter is melted but not brown.

Meanwhile, mix flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, salt and baking powder in bowl.

Stir in milk.  Pour this batter over the melted butter – DO NOT STIR.

Drop in berries, scattering evenly over surface.  DO NOT STIR.

Sprinkle 2 Tblsp. granulated sugar on top…

…and bake for 30 minutes @ 350 F degrees.

The butter and batter rise to make a thin top crust that is buttery, sugary and crunchy at the edges.

Best served warm.  Delicious plain or with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

6 servings