“What are these?” Asked a thoughtful child, leaning in the doorway to our administration room.
They were pointing to a small plastic package – of blackberries, that I had brought as a gift for them from the capital city.
“Blackberries.” I answered. “Try one.”
I opened a bottle of water and washed a berry and handed it to the child, who smiled and cupped their hands around the small fruit.
They bit into it carefully. It was clear that it was a bit tart from the expression on their small little face, but they chewed thoughtfully. Their eyes went wide as they bit into the seed of the otherwise soft berry, and they spit it out in their hand, examining it.
“Do you want to try to grow these?” I asked.
The child nodded enthusiastically.
“Fine. This is your project.” I handed them a small handful more.
“Save the seeds!” I called after them, as they wandered down the hallway, eating the fruit, and collecting the little brown seeds back into a bucket to be dried and prepared for planting.
Many seeds, like blackberry seeds, need to be dried and often putting them in a freezer is a great way to prepare the seed for sprouting. Blackberry vines are actually faster to grow if you can propogate a stick or a root, but if you are in an area where the vines are not common, such as a village in a third world country, you can still grow blackberries, which love acidic soil, and you can recreate a whole vine from any seed within a mature berry.
We were only able to afford one small package of blackberries that day, but the village children are wise, and if they are given even something so small as that, a new food like this can help them to generate a new income stream and fill nutritional gaps in the village.
The children in the village have become especially fond of pies. They make meat pies, apple pies, and chicken-pot-pies. If we can successfully convince these little berries to grow – maybe someday we can make blackberry pies, too.
Try out this recipe for Creme Brulee from Gimme Some Oven, which is heavenly – especially with candied blackberries. The children and widows in the village cook with fire and banana coals almost daily – but milk, cream, and blackberries are a privilege we hope to bring with them someday.
Hopefully we will be able to bring you some new guides about blackberries, as well as some new recipes and (better) pictures of our projects, soon!
Meanwhile, there is some excitement about our first sprouted hibiscus seed. We hope to bring you a Hibiscus Tea post and recipe, soon!
We are currently working on some new projects, and bringing in a rainbow of new foods to our little village.