I went to a local craft market today. One stall was selling home-made jams. Blackberry jam, and it looked lovely.
When we were kids, we lived in the country. We’d go blackberrying down by the creek and come home with old ice-cream containers of luscious, ripe berries warmed by the sun. Of course, we’d eat most of them before we got home.
I can’t remember if Mum made blackberry jam. I do remember blackberries and cream. With sugar. In those days everyone put sugar in their cream. We’d never do that now, the fruit is sweet enough.
In Australia, the blackberry is a weed. In fact, it’s one of our most noxious weeds. It’s invasive. Once it takes hold it’s hard to get rid of, and it grows almost anywhere. I don’t remember how they got rid of blackberries when we were young. I remember some patches being burned, and some being bulldozed. As we got older the farmers and the local councils started spraying them. As an adult I remember that we didn’t eat wild blackberries any more, because of the spray.
Even as kids—they were weeds. Sure, they tasted great, and we loved to eat them. But I’ve never been able to buy any.
I turned away to the next stall. The stall-holder there was selling home-made nougat. Salt and chocolate.