There’s only one thing better than food and that’s free food. (Not shoplifting obviously, that would be wrong and you might get arrested.) But food that’s just hanging around in hedgerows waiting to be picked. Like blackberries.
Blackberry picking is one of those idyllic Autumn pursuits that can actually be quite unpleasant if you get it wrong. So, to ensure you don’t get macerated or poisoned here are a few simple tips.
THE RULES OF BLACKBERRY PICKING
1. Don’t pick any that are overhanging motorways, or other similarly polluted transport routes.
2. Always pick higher than a dog can raise its leg. Obviously, this depends on the breed of canine. To be sure, think Great Dane as opposed to Jack Russell.
3. Wear long sleeves and trousers. Leathers, if you’re particularly thin-skinned.
4. Keep a tube of anthisan handy. Blackberries have an irritating habit of growing next to stinging nettles. Bastards.
5. Don’t leave it until the end of September – there won’t be any left.
6. Don’t bother trying to make bramble jelly (unless you’re Delia Smith.)
7. If you do try to make bramble jelly (and are not Delia Smith) be prepared for a lot of Ribena. Of course you can always pretend you actually intended to make several litres of blackberry cordial.
For something a little less complicated than bramble jelly, you could try making compote instead (that’s compote, not compost.) Great dolloped over yoghurt or ice cream. Who needs bramble jelly anyway?
- 750g blackberries, halved
- 100g golden caster sugar
- juice ½ lemon
- half a tsp vanilla paste or essence (optional.)
Blitz two thirds of the blackberries with the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a blender until smooth. Sieve to remove the seeds. Then fold in the remaining fruit. Use within 2 days or freeze. Or feed to small children.