Foraging for Wild Dewberries

Just as I wouldn’t tell you exactly how to catch a king salmon, I wouldn’t tell you where we picked the wild blackberries or dew berries below. The Pacific Northwest, particularly western Washington is famous for the wild, tangle of blackberries rumored to cover cars, entire buildings, in a matter of months left unchecked, the Himalayas. These are not the berries I am talking about. the berries we suffer thorn pricks, nettles (which grow in the same environment – a clue!), tripping and falling over nurse logs are dewberries or rubus ursinus. The berry is smaller generally, but has a superior taste, an almost smokey flavor. It took us about one hour to find and pick about four cups, enough for a pie we will make tomorrow.

You will notice (another clue!) the red huckleberries in the mix as well. I couldn’t leave them behind.

The smell of the berries is rich and earthy, one of my favorite aromas of summer, along with the smell of flowering beet seed fields, a real treat if you have never been swept away by their intense odor. When making pies, tarts or galettes these berries do not need as much sugar as the other varieties. Taste and decide for yourself.

And on this broader subject of foraging, we ate the last of our recent batch of fresh crab tonight after pulling the refuse from the woods out of our hair, putting salve on our mosquito bites, and washing dirty feet. I picked some fresh tender green beans out of the garden and put them in with the pasta for the last two minutes simmering. Bruce cracked the crab, I made a garlic cream sauce for the pasta and we were settled in for the evening.

These are my favorite pasta plates or bowls. IKEA for just a few dollars. The black makes almost anything look better.

Bruce really has a knack for prying the leg meat out whole, which always is appealing. We feel very lucky to live in this vibrant, voluptuous place where we can wander around finding good food to eat. We have discovered that the salal berries we saw today are edible and very tart. I am going to look into this!

There is no doubt in my mind that what we did today was foraging. The berries are wild and we only had to know where to look. But I am wondering if fishing and crabbing, and hunting for that matter, are still foraging when one has to buy the licenses and report in the catch. It still requires the work, the know-how, that special aggregate of handed down lore and skill. And yet there is a difference in my mind…..as I am sitting here writing I just noticed this huge beautiful blackberry juice stain on the side of my hand….I am going to lick the last reminder of my day off and then should probably have a bath………..

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2 Responses to “Foraging for Wild Dewberries”

  1. Randall Says:

    Thank you for your prized spaghetti recipe! Wonderful!

  2. sweetcomice Says:

    Randall
    I am so glad you like it.
    It won best sauce a couple of years ago
    at the Chamber Spaghetti Feed when my students
    made it.
    I am always happy to give you recipes anytime.
    It is fun to know you are trying them out on the kids!

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