Real Food

Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.

Recipe Box: Wild Blackberry Scones

8/13/2013 11:27:00 AM

Tags: foraging, wild foods, Larissa Reznek, New Hampshire

blackberry sconesAugust bears sweet blackberries from the wild brambles that run up the steep sides of our driveway. The soil is quickly drained of nutrients here and generally rocky and poor - just the way wild blackberries like it. According to John Vivian in his article Foraging for Edibles Wild Plants: A Field Guide to Wild Berries, blackberries thrive in "disturbed ground" that is sunny, dry and at the margins of fields or roads.

Each spring, our plants bear a profusion of tiny white, bell-shaped flowers. These flowers give way to a combination of white and bright red berries that turn a deep purple hue around the first of August, when the weather is hot and dry. The fruits begin to ripen just after the last of the raspberries have been picked, right around the time we also start to harvest blueberries here in New England.

Wild blackberries, unlike their cultivated counterparts, tend to be smaller and seeder but they are equally sweet if picked at their peaked and great for baking.  I like to pick our wild blackberries in the evening, just before sunset so I can collect all the berries that have ripened during the day before the bears or animals do. It also saves me a step in the morning when I'm in a rush to put breakfast on the table and want to grab a handful of berries to add to our oatmeal or granola.

While our bushes are thick and sprawling, they bear remarkably few berries for the amount of plants that exist. (This is one of the reasons I favor recipes like the wild blackberry studded scones below. They come together in a flash and require only a handful of sweet berries). Like most other fruit and berry plants, wild blackberries greatly benefit from some nurture. This year, we are going to take Lew Nichols' and E.A. Proulx's advise in their MOTHER EARTH NEWS article, Taming Wild Apples and Wild Berries, to encourage more productive plants and sweeter berries. At the end of our berry harvest in a couple of weeks, we plan to tag the smaller, brighter canes that grew this year and bore fruit late in the summer, leaving the taller canes that we harvested heavily early in the summer unmarked. These canes are unlikely to produce again next year (see the article here for more information on identifying the differences).

In the spring, before new growth emerges on the plants, we plan to thin out our patch by either digging up the unmarked canes or cutting them back to the ground. With some luck, we'll have enough blackberries to make jam next. In the meantime, we've enjoyed these blackberry scones twice this week—they are that good.

Wild Blackberry Scones

This recipe is adapted from Deb Perleman's Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I imagine they would be lovely just as she makes them, but I swapped out the ricotta for sour cream because it was what I had on hand and used wild blackberries instead of the raspberries. The result was a hearty pastry with a delicate crumb - a perfect breakfast treat.

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon table salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1 cup wild blackberries

3/4 cup (189 grams) sour cream

1/3 cup (79 ml) milk

Turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the pieces are the size of peas. Toss in the blackberries and break them into chunks with the pastry blender.

Add the sour cream and milk, mixing with a spatula until the dough comes together. Using your hands, bring the dough together in a ball and turn it out into a floured surface. Pat the dough into a 1-inch high disk and divide it into six even wedges with a sharp knife. Transfer the scones to the baking sheet and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake the scones for approximately 15 minutes until they are a golden color around the edges. Let cool for a minute and then transfer to a cooling rack until ready to eat.



Related Content

From the Mother Archives, 1970: Foraging For and Enjoying Wild Foods

James E. Churchill’s advice for finding and preparing chicory, mint, catnip and blackberries, found ...

Early Spring Foraging: Violets

Violet leaves are one of the best wild edible salad greens. Their pretty, edible flowers are only in...

Quiet Walks and Sound Advice From Mamaw

Camille Wright passes on wisdom from her “Mamaw,” conjuring up images of fresh clothes on the clothe...

What’s the Technical Difference Between a National Park, Wilderness Area, Wildlife Refuge, Etc.?

Ever wondered what the difference is between a national park, a wilderness area, a national wildlife...

Content Tools
RSS




Post a comment below.

 

James
8/20/2013 4:44:22 PM
These are the best scones I ever ate. Most scones I've tried are drier than a 3 day old biscuit. These were so moist and flavorful that we had them for breakfast and for supper. Thanks for another recipe to use with the quarts of blackberries I have in the freezer here in NH.










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.