Region of Origin: Western Europe
Growth Form: Perennial shrub
Current Range: Most of the temperate world
Season of Flowering: Summer
Although Himalayan blackberry (now called Armenian blackberry) is one of the most delicious fruits around, it is also one of the most destructive invaders in the Pacific Northwest. First appearing in Oregon in 1922, this prickly shrub aggressively ousts native plants, especially in riparian environments. Control of infestations has taken a significant toll on road, park and agricultural maintenance budgets. The berry reproduces through arching canes and seed. It ripens in late summer-early fall, turning to a deep purple blue. Not only do humans enjoy their lovely sweet-tart taste, but birds love them too – unwittingly helping the plant’s invasion by spreading the seed after feeding.
A special thank you to author and ecologist Corinne Duncan for her content contributions to the Himalayan Blackberry Introduction.
5 cups wild blackberries
2 Tbsp tapioca pearls, ground into powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened apple juice
1 tsp dried orange rind or 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 tsp dried mint, finely crumbled
1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds
1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) sweet brown rice flour or 7 ounces any whole-grain flour
2 Tbsp apricot kernel oil, walnut oil, almond oil, or corn oil
1 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp common spicebush berries, finely chopped, or freshly ground allspice berries
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup corn oil
3 Tbsp soy milk, almond milk, or unsweetened fruit juice, or as needed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the blackberries, ground tapioca, 1/2 cup of the apple juice, the orange rind, mint, and cardamom together in a large bowl. Transfer the mixture to a 14 x 9 x 2-inch oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the fruit mixture with 3 tablespoons of the flour and dot with the apricot kernel oil.
In a medium-size bowl, mix together the remaining flour, the cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, spicebush berries, nutmeg, and salt. Mix in the corn oil, and then stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon apple juice and enough soy milk to make a dough that’s neither sticky nor crumbly.
Using a rolling pin covered with a floured sleeve and working on a floured pastry sheet, roll the dough out 1/4 inch thick in the shape of your baking dish. Transfer the rolled out pastry onto the berry layer, cut slits for steam to escape, and sprinkle on more cinnamon for color, if desired. Bake the cobbler until bubbly, about 40 minutes. Serve hot or cold. Serves 6 to 8.
2 cups cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups blackberries (see above)
1 teaspoon Knox gelatin
6 teaspoons cold water
Canola or grapeseed oil to grease ramekins
4 dessert ramekins
Mix the blackberries with the sugar and let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, oil the ramekins with the grapeseed, or any neutral-tasting oil. You can skip this if you are planning to serve the panna cotta as a parfait, and not pop it out of the container. Heat the blackberries-sugar mixture with the cream and bring it to a steam, about 170 degrees. Don't let it simmer. Turn off the heat and let this steep 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes is about done, mix the gelatin with the cold water in a container you can pour from, like a large measuring cup or a bowl with a pouring spout. Heat the cream mixture again, just back to the steaming point. Don't simmer it. Set up a fine-meshed strainer over the container that has the gelatin in it. Pour the hot cream through the strainer into the container so you leave the blackberries behind. Now, pick up the strainer and shake it gently over the cream to release some extra blackberry goodness. This is important, as this last bit of juice and cream in the blackberries is concentrated and can give you a lot more flavor and color in your panna cotta. Stir the panna cotta mixture a few times to incorporate the gelatin, then pour it into your ramekins. Put in the fridge for a few hours to set. Panna cotta can be made up to a day ahead, just cover the ramekins once they've set.
1 cup Sugar
1 qt Vodka
1 qt Blackberries
Place the sugar in a 1 quart jar. Fill the rest of the jar with blackberries without packing them tightly. Fill the jar with vodka so that it is level with the berries. Seal the jar and let it stand. Shake the jar gently once per week. Continue this process for 8-10 weeks. The sugar will dissolve and the liquid will color to match the berries. After the shaking process is complete, strain the liquid through a sieve. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter to fully separate the liquid from the rest of the fruit. Pour into bottles or jars for storage or gift-giving. Drink as a cordial or use to flavor lemonade, iced tea, or other adult beverages, especially a Blackberry Martini.