The start of autumn always mean am outings to the hedgerows, armed with plastic pots to pick ripe wild blackberries. It has become a yearly ritual and national pastime in Britain. This year’s unusually warm weather has made it a particularly good year for blackberries, which have ripened earlier than usual and flourished in abundance across the hedgerows of Britain.
When picking blackberries, look for plump, darkly-coloured berries that are neither too firm nor too mushy.
Perfectly orchestrated by Mother Nature herself, blackberry season overlaps with the start of the apple harvest, enabling a beautiful marriage of the two.
Ideally, you should eat your blackberries within a day or two of picking and store them in a dry, cool place. If you don’t plan to eat them immediately, I recommend keeping them in the fridge in an airtight container where they will stay fresher for longer.
If you venture to the fields to pick your own berries, you’ll inevitable come home with far too many to eat within the week. Not to worry – berries freeze extremely well. Wash them and dry well, then freeze spread out on a tray before transferring the frozen fruit to puts of zip-lock bags to store in the freezer. They will last a long time here.
Blackberries vary in sweetness and wild berries that you will pick from the hedgerows are slightly more tart, smaller and firmer in texture. Cultured blackberries that you find in the supermarkets are delicious eaten plain, drizzled with cream and sugar, or arranged on top of a pavlova. Wild berries may not look as pretty, but their depth of flavour works well cooked down with plenty of sugar and spooned into a pie, as the base to a bubbling crumble or boiled into a sticky, fruity jam.
Here are a few fruity recipes to give you some blackberry season baking inspiration: