Urban Foraging: Blackberries


One cup of blackberries, representing about 15 minutes of picking, and bursting with juice.

Late summer in the city–generally in the month of August–is the time to forage for blackberries. Bring gloves, since the branches on which the berries grow are covered with serious thorns, and long pants should be worn, as well. On the other hand, some blackberry scratches can be an ennobling addition to your summer look. Use bug repellent if you have to, but don’t get any on the berries.

Berries can be found now in Inwood Park in Manhattan (especially up on the western ridge, which looks down on the Hudson River) and Alley Pond Park in Queens (where you should watch out for poison ivy). More pictures of berry bushes follow. When you’ve picked a sufficient number, serve them with premium ice cream, or whipped cream sweetened with a little powdered sugar. Whipped cream in a can works fine, too.

Known to the English as brambles, blackberry bushes have small snowy flowers with a yellowish center.

This bush displays berries in several stages of ripeness. Only pick berries that are black and bulbous, though sometimes half-dehydrated berries can be amazingly flavorful and sweet, like raisins.