Author's Daughter Jourdan Bramwell picking wild black raspberries near Pendleton.  Photo by author
Author’s Daughter Jourdan Bramwell picking wild black raspberries near Pendleton. Photo by author

A week ago I picked strawberries for the last time and enjoyed them with good company, my daughter Jourdan, Bisquick shortbread and whipped cream. Today, my attention turns from red to black, as in raspberries which are just beginning to ripen.  It is time for Indiana raspberry picking!

There is a bumper crop in Central Indiana; I find them on fence rows, under high tension towers, wood edges and old abandoned rail lines.

As a child, living on a farm near Madison, Indiana, I would join family members to pick about 10 milk buckets full of wild blackberries.  There was no Deep Woods Off; instead, we put sulfur powder around our waist and in our socks. As soon as our pails were full, the boys would skinny dip in one Clifty Creek hole and the girls in another. In spite of these precautions, I always got a few chiggers.

When we got back to my grandparent’s farm house, the women began making butter pocket dinner rolls, blackberry cobblers and many jars of jelly. Hot paraffin was poured over the tops of the jelly jars to seal them. The jelly and hot dinner rolls were my favorite treat.

We picked the blackberries in July, but could find very few black raspberries to harvest in June. In Madison County we have equal amounts.

I could not begin to make the tasty cobblers my grandmother made, but I make a black raspberry or blackberry pie that is quite good and very easy to make. I call my creation “Pie for Dumb Guys.” You, my friend, can make this pie: bake one and you are on the hook.

Pie for dumb guys:

  1. Preheat you oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Dumb guys are going to screw up making the crust so why bother. In your grocers’ dairy case, along with the butter, locate Pillsbury’s pie crust. Inside the box are two individually wrapped pieces of dough.The only problem you will experience with the rolled up pie dough is if you unroll when it is too cold or too warm. I let it sit out about 20 minutes.
  3. With crust already made mix together 4 cups of berries, 7/8-1 cup sugar (I use Ideal Sweetener), 4 tablespoons of flour, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon salt. If it mixes a little dry, add a little water.
  4. Unroll one pie shell across the top of a 9-inch pie pan then carefully conform the dough evenly to the bottom and side of the pan. Do not ask your wife for help. Lay the edge of the crust along the rim of the pie pan.
  5. Next, pour your mixed ingredients into the dough-lined pan. This next move is important and easy to forget. Take a partial stick of butter (measurement lines are on the wrapper) equaling 4 teaspoons (one solid chunk) and start shaving off chunks. Spread the pieces of butter evenly over the top of your filling.
  6. Just unroll your remaining dough over the top. If a lot of dough over-laps the edge of the pan, run your fillet knife along the outside rim to remove excess, unless, like me, you like a lot of crust. Tuck the top crust over and behind the bottom crust and crimp. Make short slits in the top crust.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes (middle rack), then, reduce heat to 375 for another 25 minutes. With 10 minutes to go, lightly baste the crust with an egg white.
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Rick Bramwell
Rick L. Bramwell is 72 years old and began writing for the Anderson Herald Bulletin in 1972. He likes to hunt small game, deer, turkey and morel mushrooms. Bramwell’s 174-7/8 typical whitetail is the largest ever taken in Madison County. He used to compete in Red Man and BASS Federation tournaments, but is now content to fish ponds and small lakes for bass and panfish. For most of 43 years Bramwell has coached Baseball and softball. He has three grown children and resides in Madison County, near Pendleton.

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