We seem to have come to the end of the blackberries. When we started picking at the end of June, we could easily pick until our baskets were full. I never weighed the berries we picked but we harvested a lot of berries. All together, we made 54 half pints of jam, 10 pints of syrup, three pies and we froze around 8-10 more quart-sized freezer bags. We went a few nights ago and the berries have surely dwindled (or else someone else found our spot!). We got enough to fill a quart freezer bag but no more. Although a little eariler than planned, we had figured on stopping picking sometime around the end of summer. There is an English wives’ tale that goes something like this…
When the Devil was kicked out of Heaven on October 11(the date of Michaelmas though I have seen it posted as September 29 also…one is old Michaelmas and the other modern Michaelmas I guess), he landed, cursing and screaming, on a thorny blackberry bush.
He avenges himself on the same day every year by spitting (or some say, peeing) on the berries, which makes them inedible.
Apparently, there is some truth to leaving blackberries alone in the Fall. The climatic changes of Autumn apparently are ripe for mold to breed which may make the blackberries unsafe to eat.
There is another English tale regarding blackberries…
Once upon a time, a cormorant (a seabird that dives for fish), a bat, and a blackberry bush entered the wool business together, buying, shipping, and selling wool. Unfortunately, their ship, loaded with wool, sank on its first voyage, and their business went belly-up. Ever since, the cormorant dives into the sea looking for the ship. The bat hides from his creditors in a cave, venturing forth only after dark. And the blackberry bush grabs wool from any passing sheep, trying to replace his loss.
I also found an interesting site that has some explanations of old traditions associated with the Celtic season/month