Blackberries grow from second year canes, meaning a blackberry cane will grow one year, then the next year it will produce fruit. Depending on where you are foraging (ie, private vs public land), if you have picked all the berries from a cane, you should cut that cane off at the ground level to prune it back. Blackberries are prolific growers, spreading from roots underground. I've collected a few specimens of blackberries, that I am going to try and propagate in my own back yard.
|3 Leaf Blackberry|
I've found the best time of the year to harvest blackberries is the second or third week of July. You will find some that are ripe in June, and you will find some that are ripe all the way into September, but I find the most are ripe in the middle of July.
A few things to be wary of are snakes and bears. Bears can be an issue depending on where you live. They love berries, and you can easily run into them in a thick berry patch. Snakes love to hunt and hide under the thick patches. Make sure you are careful where you put your feet, and always look before grabbing any berries to make sure a snake is not hiding. And always make sure you are protected from bugs. Blackberries are infamous for chiggers and ticks. And always look out for the thorns. They can be quite painful.
Now to the fun part. Blackberries can be eaten raw, made into a cobbler, and made into jellies and jams. Here are links to a few recipes. Try one, try all, and share your own in the comments section.
I hope you can find a place near you to go and harvest some blackberries this weekend. Take your kids, take your wife, take someone elses kids. It's an easy fruit to find, and harvest, and the berries are delicious.