Our very thoughtful neighbor up the road has been saving blackberries for me from her bushes. We spent a lot of time harvesting wild blackberries around our property this year, but the fruits were so tiny and sour compared to her thornless variety. When I first saw them, I couldn’t believe how humongous her blackberries were! They’re easily four times the size of the largest wild blackberries I’ve foraged. I’m excited to have worked out a plant trade with her later this fall, some of my raspberries for some of her blackberries. Both plants send off baby plants from the main stem, which are easy enough to dig up and transplant elsewhere, so trading will help us thin our beds as well as build our garden variety.
I’ve learned something from her blackberries that I never noticed with wild ones. Blackberries have worms. Teeny, tiny, white worms. They burrow deep into the center of the berry, where you’d never see them unless you cut the berry in half or you just happen to see one sticking its ugly head out.
Of course, once you know they’re there you’re inclined to want to cut every single berry into several pieces, just to make sure there isn’t a worm. But let’s be honest here. Who has the time for that? I’ve found a much better solution. And although I can’t guarantee you’ll get every single tiny worm out, you’ll feel much better about eating your berries once you’ve successfully removed a few.
It’s pretty much the same method that you would use to remove worms from cabbage or broccoli.
Fill a sink or large bowl full of ice water, and add about 2 Tbsp to 1/4 c. salt. Dump the fresh blackberries in, and allow them to sit for about 10 min. I like to gently swish them around to help loosen any die hard worms. Sometimes they will die, but stay clung to the berry. What you should see after several minutes of soaking is that the worms are floating to the surface of the water, or just below the surface. If you don’t see any worms, either there weren’t any to begin with or you didn’t use enough salt.
When you’re satisfied that you’ve gotten all the worms possible, gently rinse the berries in cold running water. You want to be sure not to squish them so that you don’t lose much of their juices.
Then drain and use right away, or freeze for future use. I’ve been filling a freezer bag until I have enough to make a good amount of blackberry jelly. I think I’d prefer the jelly to the jam, to avoid the seeds.
Anyways, that’s how easy it is to get worms out of blackberries! Aren’t you glad you don’t have to throw them all away?!
Have you ever found a worm in your blackberries? Do you have a different method of dealing with them?