This is by far my favourite fruit of the year. I spent many childhood weeks picking juicy blackberries from the hedgegrows in Ireland. If you walk any of the trails across Ireland in late August and September you will stumble upon these treasured fruits.
WHERE TO PICK BLACKBERRIES
There is a general rule of thumb when picking blackberries, avoid roadsides and anywhere where you may have traffic. These fumes will make there way onto the fresh berries and believe me they don’t taste good. The best place to find plump purple coloured blackberries is in densely forested areas, rich in all kinds of vegetation. If you know a forest where large coniferous trees grow you will often find hedgegrows of blacberries nearby.
WHEN TO PICK BLACKBERRIES
Although you will find blackberries on market shelves year round nowadays, this is not natural and it is hard to imagine that Blackberries found anywhere outside of the months between August – October are organically grown. Unless someone was clever and froze some for later.
WHAT TO MAKE WITH BLACKBERRIES
Apple and Blackberry crumble recipe
300 g Apple
100 g Blackberries
30 g Brown Sugar
30 g Butter
1 heaped teaspoon of Cinnamon
60 g Caster Sugar
120 g Plain Flour
60 g Butter
- Heat oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C /Gas 5.
- Mix flour and sugar into a large bowl.
- Add the butter, then rub into the flour using your fingertips.
- Pour the mixture evenly over a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins or until lightly coloured.
- For the fruit wash, peel and core apples
- Put the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan and melt together.
- Cook for approx 3 mins until the mixture turns to a light caramel consistency.
- Stir in the sliced apples and cook for 3 mins.
- Add the blackberries and cinnamon, and cook for a further 3 mins.
Juice and zest of one lemon
- Place sugar, blackberries and juice and zest of one lemon in a large pot.
- Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring until all the sugar dissolves.
- If you like whole berries in your jam, stir occasionally and cook for approximately 15 minutes. If you like your jam with the berries crushed, use a potato masher to crush the berries and continue cooking as previously directed.
- While the berries are cooking, put clean glass jars and lids into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer the jars and lids to sterilize.
- When the 15 minutes are up, take the plate out of your freezer and drop a dollop of hot jam onto it. Let the jam cool for a few minutes on the plate and then, with your finger, push a bit of the jam up towards the middle to see if it “crinkles”. If it does, the jam has set and you are ready to bottle it. If not, continue to boil for another 5 minutes, then test again.
- Remove from the heat and carefully transfer to hot, dry, sterilized jars. Fill them as near to the top as possible.
Would you like to embark on a unique foraging experience in Ireland? Join the flying pickers for a day of blackberry picking and tour of the Irish countryside.