Gathering blackberries 

There’s something about September. I’m almost even more excited to spend time outside in September than I am in July! I recently had a brief escape to the Cotswolds and spent an entire walk through the countryside staring, almost rubbernecking, at hedgerows full of hawthorn berries, elderberries and crab apples!

One of the most abundant fruits in September is the humble blackberry, which is in season from August to the end of September. We happened upon a huge stock of blackberry bushes (brambles) on Wimbledon common earlier this month and got to work with our plastic tubs! We weren’t the only ones either and it almost felt like there was an unspoken sense of community as we took part in our shared foraging activity.

How to find blackberries

I’m betting you know what a blackberry looks like, and chances are you know exactly where you can find a patch of brambles. Brambles are everywhere, they grow in hedgerows, parks, roadsides and even railway tracks, although I would strongly advise against picking any blackberries there!!

Picking blackberries

Keep in mind my Golden Rules of Foraging, as well as these extra tips for blackberries:

  • Brambles are spiky! Take care of their thorns when leaning and don’t wear clothes you care much about.
  • As well as dust and other things that need washing off the outside of the berries, be careful to clean out small grubs that could have made their way inside the fruit. It’s not always obvious until you really look for them.
  • When picking, hold the berry as close as you can to the stalk and pull gently to avoid them turning to mush in your fingers. If they don’t come off fairly easily then they’re not ready, and if they disintegrate even without applying much pressure then they’re probably too far gone anyway.

Cooking with blackberries

The usual suspects are crumble and maybe jam, but theres just so much more you can do with blackberries:

  • Try squishing them into a G&T for a bit of colour and fruitiness.
  • Make a blackberry liqueur by infusing the berries with vodka and some sugar.
  • How about making a savoury relish infused with juniper berries. It would go really well with venison which is also pretty good at this time of year. I have a great recipe for a blackberry and juniper relish coming soon!
  • You could make a blackberry coulis by cooking the fresh blackberries in a saucepan with a sprinkle of sugar and a splash of water until they start to break down into a lovely syrupy sauce. Spoon some over a lemon drizzle cake with a dollop of mascarpone.
  • Stir some blackberry coulis into natural yoghurt with some granola as a yummy brekky.
  • Have a go at my recipe for Caramelised Figs with Black Tea  Blackberries for something completely different and very seasonal.

What is your favourite thing to do with blackberries?

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