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Blackberry Facts and Picking Tips
  1. Blackberry fruit guide: where to forage, how to cook and recipe ideas -
  2. Go wild with blackberries
  3. Accessibility links
  4. How to pick and cook blackberries

Michaelmas 29th September is, by legend, the day the Devil spits on them, making them inedible. Another version of the story is that a bramble patch broke his fall from heaven. There is a lot of tannin in brambles and perhaps after the 29th, at the end of their season when they start to wither, they are too bitter. They are pretty much over, here in the south-east, but may have a week or two left further north.

What's in season in October 12222, and other timely information:

Everyone loves blackberry picking — there is something very satisfying about searching through the tangle of thorns for the fattest, glossiest fruit. A good picking session with plastic bags at the ready was a feature of my childhood, autumn half-term holidays in Scotland.

Blackberry fruit guide: where to forage, how to cook and recipe ideas -

There are plenty of brambles in our local park, and there was a big patch under the railway bridge until they were cleared away in a fit of tidiness. What can you make with the fruit you have picked, apart from the usual jam and apple and blackberry crumble? They freeze very well so you can store them for later.

This year I experimented with a blackberry sorbet and recommend it highly — it really captures that rich, aromatic, winey flavour.

Quite a grown up ice, although the kids lapped it up too. Grub Street. Put them in a non-reactive pan with the sugar and water and bring to the boil, simmering for minutes until the fruit has started to release its juice. Allow to cool and then liquidise in a blender or food processor or just push through a sieve. Strain to remove the seeds and debris. Allow to cool then add the alcohol and the lemon juice. Cover and chill.

Go wild with blackberries

When cold, either pour into your ice cream machine or pour into a shallow plastic container and put in the freezer. Take it out about 20 mins before you want to eat. Little blackberry and apple pie this year. I look with some envy across several back gardens […]. Just made this sorbet something of a glut of blackberries in Norfolk! Thank you!

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I made this sorbet and served it to guests between the starter and main course as a palate cleanser. We did feel posh! It is so wonderful to find tales and memories of blackberry picking from all over the world. As the fruits swell and ripen into September their sweetness becomes more pronounced and they find other homes in pies, crumbles and cobblers, frequently combined with early apples for a taste which is the embodiment of the changing seasons. There is traditionally a date after which the berries should not be picked, most commonly taken to be Michaelmas 29 September but later in some areas, after which time the devil is said to spit or stamp or worse on the berries, rendering them unfit.

It seems likely that this is a reference to the grey botrytis cinerea mould which envelops the fruits later in the season. No mention in folklore is made of the more prosaic problems associated with low hanging fruit in areas where dogs are walked and child pickers roam.

How to pick and cook blackberries

According to Lia Leendertz , Loch Ness is extremely popular because it "produces a high yield from thornless, compact plants - perfect for small gardens. Alternatively, the vigorous Ashton Cross produces vast crops with a proper wild blackberry flavour. But Kotata, with its beautiful long, black glossy berries, perhaps boasts the best flavour of all. If your style is to go no further than your own patch when foraging see here for more information on growing your own blackberries. The prize berry for flavour, size and ripeness is the one at the extremity of the bunch, and it's a sure sign that someone else has beaten you to the bush if they've vanished by the time you arrive.

A glossy black swollen appearance indicates a ripe berry; if insects have been at the fruit it will tend to appear deflated. For more on the finer points of foraging from acclaimed expert John Wright, see here.

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  • How to pick and cook blackberries | BBC Good Food!

A good source of vitamin C, and also dietary fibre in the multitudinous tiny seeds. They also contain a mild analgesic in the form of salicylates; useful in combating the effects of an autumnal sore throat, but potentially less helpful to people with an allergy to asprin. It's a rare person indeed who can contemplate storing blackberries.


Fresh, they will not keep even overnight without losing taste and condition, and that's without factoring in the most notorious predator of the picked blackberry; the forager's own family. They do freeze very well, though, making a glut a nice problem to have.

How to Clean Blackberries

As noted, blackberries and apples are best friends forever, and blackberries also lend themselves to jelly, jam, compote, tart, pie, iced desserts, syrup, liqueur and ratafia.