Picking Them Wild and Hardy: Blackberries and Black Currants — An Anecdote

Even though blueberries are still going strong, we occasionally need a change of scenery. But still wanting more berries to get us through the winter, we remembered an afternoon last year which had been spent picking blackberries even though blueberries had been the objective of the trip. Since growing conditions have been better all-around this year, we headed back to the same spot in Alban, hopeful for a decent yield.

Blackberries hanging from a branch.

When we first got there, we saw a few delicate raspberries along the trail and picked a few small handfuls each before spotting something completely unexpected: black currants! We picked as many as we could but didn’t see any more.

Branch full of black currants.

Soon finding blackberries, we set to our task in earnest. At first, we were happy we didn’t have to kneel or bend over, but as we moved deeper into the bush, the scratches covering our arms quickly changed our minds. I’d remembered the thorns from last year and brought my arm sleeves, but when I reached for them in my pocket, I discovered they had been left in the car at the trail head (frowny face).

Branch full of blackberries.

Between the two of us, we managed to fill a four-litre basket of blackberries before finding any more black currants. Overall, we were just thrilled that we’d found so many of Northern Ontario’s hardy wild berries in one spot!

Full basket of blackberries.

We picked as many more black currants as we could find, but they’re sparser. Still, we got about a litre.

Small basket of black currants.

Since we never did find any more raspberries, we ate our few meagre handfuls on the trail. Back at home, we froze the blackberries and are planning on making smoothies and jams with them. And it turns out we picked enough black currants to dehydrate a nearly full jar! We are so grateful for our Nesco American Harvest Dehydrator.

Jar of dehydrated black currants.