Dewberries bring back sweet memories
By Katherine Compton
Author C. JoyBell C. wrote “The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
These uncertain times have presented us all with opportunities, some old and some new, for growth and to throw ourselves into a new normal.
I was recently taking a long walk in the pasture, something that ordinary I am far to ‘busy’ to do. It was a peaceful way to while away an afternoon while getting some much needed fresh air and a little exercise. I stopped by one of the ponds, got a closer look at some of the new, cute baby calves, rested on the sandy bank of the Garcitas Creek and on my way back to the house found the perfect dewberry patch.
I love dewberry season, the oppressive heat of the summer has not yet arrived and the sides of the highway are covered in bright beautiful wildflowers and sprinkled with sweet wild dewberries.
I cherish the memories I made as a child picking berries and then making sticky, sweet cobbler. What I do not cherish are the memories of my mother painting clear nail polish on the chigger bites we always seemed to bring home with our harvest. As an adult I have refined my picking method to avoid those little devils and still enjoy nature’s wild bounty.
Later that afternoon I grabbed a bucket and loaded up into my UTV with my dog SH, whoe is my faithful picking companion and on-board snake protection. We set out for an evening of berry harvesting. We listened to music and I picked from the relative safety of the vehicle until the sun set.
This quarantine has offered me a chance to slow down and spend time doing things I forgot that I loved. Cooking, baking, reading, swimming, writing, gardening and phone calls with friends, the length of which remind me of being in junior high when we all still had landline phones that were actually connected to the wall.
Later that evening, I cleaned my crop, prepping some for the freezer, some for a tiny, solo-sized cobbler and finally a few for jam.
I have never seen dewberries in the grocery store, but even if I did you can bet, especially after this year, that I would still make time to go out and pick them for myself.
There is not a lot of magic left in the world and our fast paced lives make it all the more fleeting, but for me these little berries are just that, magic! I do nothing and then at the most beautiful time of year in Texas I can enjoy the sun on my shoulders, the breeze in my hair and end up with bucket full of deliciousness!
There is not much which is more peaceful or better for your soul than to spend time with Mother Nature and in the kitchen! I guess William Shakespeare must agree. In his play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titania, the queen of the fairies, while under the influence of a love potion instructs the other fairies to care for the object of her affection Bottom with the words ‘Feed him with apricots and dewberries, with purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries.’
This is my easy recipe for dewberry cobbler, feel free to feed it to the object of your affections. I find that with a scoop of ice cream it is a love potion all its own!
1 gallon fresh picked dewberries
3 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups salted butter
2 tbsp cornstarch
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Pour your washed dewberries into a greased 9-inch x 13-inch glass pan and sprinkle with 1 cup of sugar and cornstarch, stir together. Set aside and allow a slurry to form. Using a pastry cutter cut the remaining sugar, flour and butter together until crumbly.
When the berry and sugar mixture is nice and juicy, spread the crumble mixture over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until the crumble is lightly browned and the berries are bubbly and thickened. Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Katherine Compton is a mother of two children and a Realtor. She loves cooking almost as much as she loves living in Jackson County. To contact Katherine, email whatscookingkatherine@ gmail.com.