Don’t eat blackberries after Old Michealmas.

So it is said in folklore.  On Old Michaelmas Day (October 10 or 11) the Devil puts his foot on blackberries.

Michaelmas itself is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel (AKA the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels) and in the Western Christian calendar it occurs on September 29. Because it falls near the equinox, it is associated in the northern hemisphere with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days.

The Archangel Michael is the greatest of all the Archangels and is honored for defeating Lucifer in the war in heaven. He is one of the principal angelic warriors, seen as a protector against the dark of night, and the administrator of cosmic intelligence. Michaelmas has also delineated time and seasons for secular purposes as well, particularly in the United Kingdom and Ireland as one of the quarter days.That’s because it is the date in the Christian calendar which celebrates the Archangel Michael’s defeat of Lucifer (the Devil).

On his expulsion from heaven, Lucifer landed in a thorny blackberry bush which he supposedly cursed and spat on. Hence you should not eat blackberries after this date.

Any science to the lore? Since blackberries contain a high concentration of bitter tasting tannins which over time accumulate in the fruit and since Old Michaelmas day falls late in the blackberry season, the berries picked after that date tend to be very bitter. Depending on where you are picking those berries, autumn weather is usually damper and the fruit will contain more fungus spores which won’t help the taste either.

Thanks for wrecking the blackberries, Mr. Lucifer.

Lucifer falls from heaven