Summertime Berries mean fruit picking time in the Pacific Northwest. Fresh juicy ripe edible berries are Yum, yum, yum! We recently enjoyed a big pan of blackberry cobbler from the ripe berries we picked. And you can too. Foraging for wild edible berries is great fun and a rewarding outdoor activity for friends and family. Listed in this post are many of the most common and delicious edible berries to forage.
Northwest Edible Berries
Blackberries are an excellent berry to start with. Identifying Himalayan blackberries (Rubus discolor) is easy with a bit of research, and picking is straightforward and simple. Besides eating the delicious berries, the best part is that you don't need much gear to do it!
Here is my recommended summertime berry picking gear list.
- 1-gallon bucket with a handle for each berry picker
- Wide-brim sun hat to keep the head, ears, and back of the neck from getting sunburned
- long-sleeved shirts to keep the arms and upper body from getting scratched by thorns
- Pants or trousers that cover down to the ankle. To keep the legs from getting scratched by the thorny berry vines
- Sturdy shoes
- Garden snips are helpful for snipping the large vines of the blackberry plants
- A hooked staff or walking stick for pulling vines withing reach and pushing vines out of your way.
Eating the freshly picked Blackberry
One of our favorite things to do with our freshly picked blackberries is to make homemade blackberry cobbler. And no fooling, it's delicious! How do we best describe hot blackberry cobbler right from the oven? Wow! Add a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream on top and you have a double wow!! Delicious! Do you have a favorite Blackberry Cobbler recipe? Please share it in the comment section below!
Sourdough Pancake Recipe
How about adding some ripe and luscious wild blackberries to your Sourdough pancakes? We do, and it's a hit with the whole family.
Trailing Blackberries (Rubis ursinus) are our only native blackberries. The ground-trailing vines of this native species are common and found along walking trails, disturbed areas, and woodland thickets. Because of its clingy nature, it is easy to be tripped by its tenacious prickly vines.
A delightful and sweet berry when ripe, Rubis ursinus is eaten as a trail snack and when found in abundance, can be gathered for pie filling, topping for ice cream, dried, or frozen for later use.
Berries from the Elder shrub are edible but must be cooked first before eating. Here are some tips on the best way to pick elderberries and prepare them for use. We make a delicious syrup every fall from the ripe elderberries both sweet and savory.
The native Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), produce a much smaller berry than the Himalayan blackberry plant, ripening in middle-to-late August. Huckleberries are an important food for black bears in Oregon. Bears eat and depend on all berries for food, but especially the Evergreen huckleberry which helps to put on fat for winter.
Huckleberries can be eaten fresh, added to pancakes, and smoothies, or eaten right off the shrub. Traditionally, this smaller fruit was crushed flat and dried for later use.
Thimbleberries (Rubus parviflorus), begin to bloom in late April on the Oregon coast. They are reddish in color and have the shape of an upside-down tiny bowl when still on the shrub. Thimbleberry is delicious and one of my favorite berries to eat as a trail snack.
The Salal (Gaultheria shallon), another northwest berry, is incredibly high in flavonoids. Historically, the Salal, was used for strengthening capillaries-mucus membrane fragility. If you are susceptible to nose bleeds, eating these robust berries can be helpful. A terrific survival food, the berries can be dried and stored to eat during the winter months.
Berries and Bears
If you're collecting berries in Grizzly Bear country - Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, etc., be aware and bear-careful!
Make lots of noise when picking those rich and luscious wild fruit. One exceptionally large neighbor, the bear, is putting on fat for his long winter nap and can be extremely focused and grumpy when eating. He may not noticed you have sidled up next to him with your berry basket.
Berry Pickin’ Bears
If you happen to run into a bear while out picking wild edible berries, and he or she takes your basket from you-my advice is don't argue!
In addition, bears don’t appreciate any negative comments regarding their delicate odor. I recommend tipping your hat politely, and slowly, carefully, backing away from the bear. Refrain from any rude gesturing and find another berry patch…far, far, away.
Berries and the Blackberry Boogie
This is a great song to warm up to before picking blackberries: ‘Blackberry Boogie‘ by Tennessee Ernie Ford
What else is there to say about berries? Happy Berry Picking!