Planning to bake a raspberry pudding last week, I baulked at paying eight dollars for a small punnet of fresh raspberries and sought out tinned varieties as replacement. Finding no tinned raspberries I settled for a tin of blackberries.
Imagine my surprise when reading the information on the tin, to discover that these blackberries had come all the way from Italy.
Italian blackberries shipped out to Australia in tins!
No Aussie blackberries available, apparently.
It was then that I realised that in Australia blackberries are classified as a noxious weed and are therefore (hopefully and literally) a bit thin on the ground.
This made my memory slip back to childhood blackberry-gathering days, before the death sentence had been passed on Australian grown blackberries.
Some decades ago, at a particular time of each year, many families did as we did and went ‘black-berrying’.
(We loved blackberries – just eating them fresh off the bush or waiting until mothers had made a blackberry pie or grandmothers had turned them into blackberry jam).
We searched out blackberry patches wherever we could, which sometimes necessitated a drive out into the country-side to find productive bushes (or is it brambles?).
Once we had discovered a crop of delicious blackberries – they had to be almost black in colour – we would pick and eat, and pick and eat, until our fingers and lips were purple and our little billy-cans or buckets were full of fat, partially squished berries.
If enough containers were not available, Grandma taught us how to roll and fold pages of newspapers to make upturned-steeple-shaped holders.
This reminds me that the practical use of newspapers was once a constant. Newspapers were used for all sorts of things, from wrapping fish and chips, bundling up all manner of produce, wrapping most household refuse and so much more …………
But that’s all another story.
Back to the Italian blackberries: It seems incredible that tinned blackberries travel so many kilometres across the world. Isn’t that an unnecessary waste of resources in many ways?
But it seems that ‘sensible’ no longer works in commerce.
That’s just how things are now.
Meanwhile, if you’re wondering, the blackberry pudding was delicious.
But perhaps would have been even better made from local fruit (?)
Information (below) taken from the Department of Primary Industries web site:
‘Recognised as one of the worst weeds in Australia, blackberry was declared a Weed of National Significance in 1999. Blackberries belong to a large genus (group of species) called Rubus which includes other berry plants…..’
‘Blackberry has been estimated to result in a loss of production and cost of control of between $95.1 million and $102.8 million in Australia. In comparison, the aggregated benefits of blackberry have been estimated to be approximately $1.5 million per annum, indicating that the negative impacts of blackberry vastly outweigh the positive impacts (CRC, 2006).’
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