Foraging Blackberries

Nothing sums up British summer more than foraging in hedgerows for blackberries, although it seems to have become a dying pastime.

With the heatwave this year blackberries are already blooming on bushes across the UK, but usually the best time to pick them is late August and through September, and I can’t wait to get started.

If you’ve not given this a go before, I’d really encourage you to. Blackberries can cost as much as £3 for a small punnet in shops, yet are readily available and moreover, free, on hedges up and down the country.

Here are my top tips for picking, storing, and cooking blackberries.

When to pick

As said above, blackberries are usually at their best late August through September. After this they tend to have not got as much sun, and don’t taste as good. They can sometimes bloom early, depending on the weather, so find a spot and keep an eye out.

Where to pick

Blackberries aren’t just soley found in rural areas, in fact they can be found pretty much everywhere. Canal paths, wasteland, and hedges are great places to look. Make sure that wherever you are picking is a public place otherwise you will be trespassing.

How to pick

You’ll be able to tell which blackberries are the best by looking at them- go for plump and dark in colour and you can’t go wrong. Go for berries above knee height. Good berries will come off the plant with just a light tug. Remember they are found on brambles, so wear appropriate clothes and shoes, and bear in mind that blackberry juice can leave a nasty stain if it gets on you! I collect in tupperware boxes, but avoid packing them up too tight as they will squash easily and become mushy.

How to store

When you’ve picked your blackberries, wash them before eating (obviously!) and then either eat/ cook with them straight away, or freeze. If you are wanting to pop them in the fridge, avoid washing until you need to use them or they’ll go mushy. If you are putting them in the fridge they will last about three days. I find it easier to freeze mine, however. They freeze really well, and can even be cooked from frozen. I do find that keeping them in tupperware though is better than bags as they can’t get squashed this way. If you defrost them they may start to go a bit mushy, so always try and cook direct from frozen if you can.

What to cook

A crumble or pie is probably one of the most obvious choices, but you can also make an abundance of things, including jam for gifts! One of my favourites is my blackberry cupcakes recipe.

Have you ever foraged blackberries? What are your favourite blackberry recipes?

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