The Best Blackberry Recipes and Tips for Berry Picking
Summertime is berry time! I love all kinds of berries, and blackberries are one of my favorites. I have been collecting blackberry recipes for years, and I am excited to share them with you! Read for the most delicious blackberry recipes, and pin it for later!
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I have always wanted to go berry picking! This summer, I finally got the chance! We live in the Bay Area of California, so I started by looking into what U-Pick farms exist near us.
San Francisco Bay Area Berry Picking
Since I thrive on research, here is a list of the best-reviewed berry picking locations if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area:
Webb Ranch in Portola Valley has not only berry picking in the summer, but also offers a farm stand, a pumpkin patch in the fall, a seasonal Christmas tree lot, and year-round horseback riding lessons.
Berry Best Farm in Brentwood, CA has strawberries, other berries, and a farm stand with fruits and vegetables.
Blue House Farm in Pescadero, CA has strawberries all summer until pumpkin season…and then they have pumpkins!
Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville, CA has strawberries, blackberries, and several other types of berries depending on the month. In the fall, they also host apple picking. If you’d like to learn more about visiting Gizdich Ranch with kids, check out my friend Parker’s article about berry picking.
Swanton Berry Farm is the one we chose to try. Swanton has two locations. There is the Swanton Farm Stand in Davenport, CA near Santa Cruz, which has treats for sale and strawberries to pick. We went to the second Swanton location, which is called Coastways Ranch U-Pick.
Coastways Ranch U-Pick is located at 640 Highway 1 in Pescadero, CA. I chose it because they had not only strawberries but blackberries, too. It turned out when we got there that they also had tayberries in season, which are a cross between raspberries and blackberries. They are shaped like blackberries, but they have the color and flavor of raspberries. My other reason for choosing Coastways is that they are located in Pescadero right along the coast near Half Moon Bay, so we were able to combine berry picking and a beach trip in one outing.
If you want to have the best experience berry picking, here are some tips:
Tips for Berry Picking
- Dress in layers, depending on the location. Our farm was on the coast, so it was cool and windy. Many berry farms are in sunny locations, so you may want to dress for hot weather. Check the temp before you go. It was 40 degrees cooler in Pescadero that day than it was in other parts of the Bay Area!
- Wear sunscreen and a hat. No matter the temperature, you are going to be outside!
- Wear sturdy shoes. The ground can be uneven, there may be a fair amount of walking, and it may be muddy.
- Don’t wear your favorite clothes! Berries are messy! You don’t want to have to keep nagging your kids about getting juice on their clothes. Wear old clothes and embrace the mess!
- Bring something to carry the berries. Most U-pick places supply a box or basket, but sometimes there is a fee.
- Bring what you need to get the berries safely home. We weren’t planning on heading home right away, so we brought a cooler and ice packs for our berries. You might also consider some baskets, bags, or larger boxes to put your berries in to protect your berries AND to protect your car from the berries!
- You will need something to wash your hands when you are done. There was no running water at Coastways. Bring some bottled water or wipes or old towels…something to get the juice off of your hands.
- Don’t forget some water to drink. Farming is thirsty work.
Coastways supplied us with a large box to put our berries in at no charge. However, the large box was a bit awkward for carrying while picking. Luckily, it turned out fine for us because my son didn’t want to actually pick the berries. So we had an official box-carrier.
If I had to do it over, I would bring some little baskets or bowls for each person to carry and collect the berries.
Our other issue was that the box was much too big to fit into our cooler, and the ranch didn’t have any other containers or even bags we could use. Since we were headed to the beach, we had our beach toys in the car and so we used some sand buckets for makeshift berry containers. Guess what – I wouldn’t recommend that! It was kinda gross! Needless to say, I did some serious berry washing when we got home.
Here is a container you can use to store the berries in your fridge to help them last longer. Don’t wash them until you are ready to use them in your blackberry recipes or they won’t last:
What do you do with all those berries?
Once you get home, it’s time to decide what to do with them! One choice is to just EAT THEM! They are delicious plain, on breakfast cereal, on top of ice cream or buried in whipped cream…but chances are, you bought several pounds of berries and you won’t be able to simply eat them all before they go bad. Never fear, I am here with the best blackberry recipes!!!
The best blackberry recipes
Cobbler is fantastic! I have often made it with peaches, but this year I made it with blackberries! Now, I have to admit that this is not a typical “Nourishing Tweens” recipe. This is not healthy. This blackberry recipe is a big, delicious treat made with astonishing quantities of sugar, white flour, and butter. IT IS SO GOOD. I believe in everything in moderation…and you NEED to eat this sometimes. It is not gluten-free or grain-free or virtuous in any way…although at least it doesn’t have all the chemicals and additives in it that would be there if you picked it up from the grocery store.
My blackberry cobbler recipe is based on a Paula Deen’s recipe. In case you don’t know, Paula Deen is known for her over-the-top tasty cooking style that involves pounds of butter and a delightful Southern accent. I have always enjoyed her as she reminds me of my mother’s family in Alabama. My cobbler is based on her peach cobbler recipe in The Lady and Son’s Just Desserts cookbook.
Even though I am embracing yumminess over health here, I did reduce the sugar quantities A LOT from Paula Deen’s recipe. It is still plenty sweet, especially when you serve it with vanilla ice cream! And bonus: it is SO EASY!
- 11 x 15 baking pan
- large mixing bowl
- slotted spoon
- 8 cups Blackberries Any type of berries can be used
- 2 cups Water
- 1 1/2 cups Sugar
- 2 1/2 sticks Butter salted (2 1/2 sticks = 1 1/4 cup)
- 2 cups Sugar
- 2 cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 cups Milk
- 1 quart Vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Start by making the berry mixture: In a saucepan, mix your 8 cups of berries with 2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups sugar.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the berries are cooking, place the butter into an 11 x 15 baking pan and put in the oven to melt.
- Mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. A whisk works well for this to evenly incorporate everything.
- Slowly add the milk to the flour mixture while stirring to prevent lumps in the batter.
- Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the oven. Pour the batter directly into the pan with the butter WITHOUT STIRRING.
- Use a slotted spoon to carefully add the berries on top of the batter. Then, gently pour the syrup from the berries on top. Not all the syrup will fit – that's okay. Don't overfill the pan or your cobbler will spill in the oven as it bakes. Leave some space at the top of your baking dish for the cobbler to rise. DO NOT STIR!
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
I am sure you will love my easy blackberry recipe! It is also fantastic with any other kind of berries. Mine was a mix of blackberries and tayberries (the ones I described above).
Now, if you are like us, you picked so many berries that you STILL have more! If you don’t want to cook more of them, freeze them! Click to read my article about how to freeze berries. Also, don’t forget to save the wonderful leftover syrup from your cooked berry mixture when you make the blackberry cobbler. It’s basically berry simple syrup, and is delicious mixed into cocktails for your or soda or lemonade for the kids! You can keep it in a jar in the fridge for a week or so, or you can pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Once the cubes have frozen, transfer them to Ziploc freezer bags and you have the taste of summer all year!
Speaking of cocktails, you simply must try my FAVORITE cocktail recipe! Its main ingredient is, you guessed it…blackberries! Click here for my blackberry cocktail recipe.
You also could simply take the blackberry simple syrup that we made above, pour it into a wine glass about 1/4 full, then fill with prosecco or champagne! Perfecto!
Another long-time favorite of mine is Sunset Magazine’s Sauceless in Seattle Blackberry BBQ Sauce. We have a family tradition: my husband makes this sauce and ribs for my birthday every year! Sooooooo gooooooood! I have an August birthday, needless to say. Berry recipe season.
Since I love to research, I found some more fabulous blackberry recipes from other bloggers. Click to try them:
Decadent Blackberry Recipes
- Blackberry Cream Cheese Crumb Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction
- Easy Blackberry Crisp from Miss in the Kitchen
- Blackberry Whiskey Lemonade from Life as a Strawberry (this is a use for that blackberry simple syrup leftover from the cobbler recipe)
Healthier Blackberry Recipes
- Healthy Berry Crisp from Joy Food Sunshine (gluten-free)
- Healthy Blackberry Snack Cake from Flavor the Moments
I hope you enjoy the blackberry recipes! Please leave a comment below and let me know which is your favorite blackberry recipe!
How about a strawberry recipe? Try this: Strawberry Salad with Mint and Feta
If you enjoyed my article, please pin and share!
Love baking with fresh fruit? Try my grain-free banana chocolate chip muffins!
Yummy! We went berry picking a few weekends ago. The boys absolutely loved it! I wish I made a cobbler. I made a pie and OMG way to much sweetness. Bad job on my behalf.
Pies can be yummy too! Maybe next time you should reduce the sugar a bit.
Yum! I love blackberries! This is perfect with fall coming up as well. I will have to try them out.
This looks so delicious. Will definitely try it!