Elderberry Hunting…and a Score on Blackberries!!!

We heard from our friendly ex-beekeeper (the guy who sold us his beehives) that there were scores of elderberries to be found on Highway 58. The idea of NOT having to drive all the way to Bonner Springs in order to harvest elderberries was quite appealing.

Not that I mind the drive…or the company of our friends the Friend family…but still, closer to home could be better.

So on Saturday we decided to go for a drive. First we took our recycling up to Bridging the Gap and then we headed back to Belton to see what we could find. We drove all the way to Pleasant Hill on Highway 58.

I loved the old downtown look of Pleasant Hill. Of course I forgot to take pictures, but it is full of turn of the century architecture, including a functional train station that was built in 1903.

After scoping out all of downtown Pleasant Hill, we turned around and headed west on Highway 58…for all of two blocks. Directly across from the fairgrounds was an extensive blackberry patch.

Blackberries, ripe for the picking…hooray!

Absolutely surrounded by poison ivy…oh no!

I eyed the ripe blackberries with longing and turned to Dave, “There has to be a way to do this.”

“What about those paper biohazard suits your client gave us?” he suggested helpfully.

“That’s perfect!” I was ready to run back to the house that instant and get suited up. “And I can wear my garden boots and gloves. The gloves we’ll wash, the boots I can wipe down with rubbing alcohol, and the paper suits can either be washed or thrown away.”

On the way back home we stopped by a road that runs beside and on past Home Depot. It dead-ends, but there we discovered a bounty of edibles.

There were wild grapes…

There were elderberry…


Even more blackberries!!!!…

And after satisfying our longing for Chipotle, we headed home to suit up…


We take our berry-picking seriously. Or perhaps we are just slightly unhinged…

He’s my blackberry picking super-hero…

We dropped the kiddo off with neighbors with the bribe of fresh blackberries and headed off. I wasn’t too fond of the idea of her so close to a road…or surrounded by waist-high poison ivy.

There are tons of berries that will be ripe in just a week, maybe two. We managed to pull out 3 1/4 pounds in just twenty minutes of picking.

I’ve got to say, it was rather a thrill to be able to wade into all of that poison ivy and not be afraid. Afterwards we walked back to the car, stripped off the suits and the boots and gloves and will be washing everything in hot water or wiping it down with rubbing alcohol.

After we had rinsed and picked through the berries carefully…

We emptied them out of the colander and onto a cookie sheet…

We slipped them into the freezer. Once they had frozen we divided them into two-cup servings and bagged them and put them back in the freezer. Now they are ready for putting in my Fruit Cobbler or even possibly making into jam.

In another week, I’m heading back out there to pick more. I’m going to get enough for jams, to make into juice and more!

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3 Responses to Elderberry Hunting…and a Score on Blackberries!!!

  1. Christine says:

    LOL…we were talking about just that! Several cars slowed down to stare at us and one took off like a bat out of hell after getting an eye full. Not sure what that guy thought.

    When we had been scoping out the bushes earlier a sheriff had driven by, looked at us, but didn’t stop. We joked that if he saw us in the suits he would definitely be stopping to ask questions!

    I did end up with one tiny bit of poison ivy on my eye. Not enough to be more than a slight irritation, but still, I’m just so doggone allergic to it!

    I made blackberry cobbler…mmm…so yummy…

  2. Lara says:

    I can’t wait to hear the rumor that there was some sort of toxic spill along the highway that required people in hazmat suits….. I have a blackberry bush in the backyard that is loaded with almost ripe berries.

    • Leonard says:

      We have red elderberries here on the coast & prtilccaaly everyone refers to them as bird food’, not realizing that they can be made into the most wonderful jelly great to adding to a sauce for pork tenderloin.They are one of the most irritating-est berries to pick & like black elderberries, are not edible raw. I have to make sure to get all the little stems off each berry too much of that in the brew’ will upset the digestive system.They usually ripen up towards the end of June (one of the first red berries to do so), but this year the birds ate ALL of them when they were still green. Good thing I had excess left-over from last year still in the berry freezer. I usually mix up the elderberry juice (I only add a small amount of berries, towards the end of the jelly process, just for interest sake) with red currants. Lovely stuff But I’d prefer black elderberries. Jelly, cordial, some sort of wine or liqueur mmmm

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