The blackberries are blooming at the 40 acre woods in March, I hope to be picking berries in May.
Wild blackberries in Florida are hardy, but are not known to produce a lot of big fruit. The blackberry plants pictured below have grown into short thorny bushes in sunny areas around the field. Fruit production is on plants that grew up last year, these plants will die back after producing berries to make room for next year’s plants.
Blackberries must be picked when ripe, unripe berries will not ripen. They are prone to mold quickly so keep them dry and wash right before using. I think the wild berries have better flavor than those from commercial growers. The struggle to survive and cycles of dry and wet concentrates the flavors, antioxidants and vitamins of wild berries.
Berries growing on upright canes are blackberries, berries that grow on long vining canes along the ground are Dewberries. I have seen both of these growing wild in Florida. The Dewberries look and taste the same as the Blackberries to me.
Try some Blackberry tea. Dried Blackberry leaves can be brewed into a great tasting tea. Used as a medicinal drink for centuries to treat digestive problems. Blackberry tea is a refreshing way to enjoy Blackberries before the fruit arrives.
I have some commercial thornless varieties planted at the 40 acre woods, but I will always keep some of these great native varieties growing. Nothing beats a fresh Blackberry cobbler from these tasty native berries.