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Saturday, 30 August 2008

Brambles and Berries

As I was updating my ‘In Season’ list, it occurred to me that we are indeed entering another season.
It is a sad but very true fact that the disappointing summer is on its way out and autumn is hot on its heels. Autumn though, is not a season to be sniffed at, bringing with it luscious hedgerow fruits, wild mushrooms and fiery colours.
As I write though, the weather has taken a turn for the better, albeit for a short time before the forecasted thunderstorms and rain arrive.

Earlier in the year I plundered our overgrown garden for elderflowers to make some fritters (click to see post).

The remaining blossoms have now developed into fruits and I’m eager to pick them to make elderberry jelly or jam. Dashing into the garden with my camera to take some photos for blog documentation, I’m suddenly disappointed. The birds have got there before me! There’s hardly a berry left and all that remains are the spikey magenta stalks.


My despondency soon fades as I realise that the thorny entanglement I’ve had to fight through is a mass of brambles now covered in fruit, ripe and ready for picking.
Back into the house to fetch a bowl from the kitchen.

This is going to be a prickly challenge, but being scratched isn’t going to prevent me from gathering nature’s prize.
The blackberries are bloated and juicy and I pick them one by one, staining my fingers a dark purple.
The task takes me quite some time. There are a lot of berries on offer and it frustrates me that so many are out of reach. Not wanting to risk falling into the spiny nest of barbed stems, I decide to leave those ones for the birds.

Satisfied that I’ve gathered enough, I weigh them. A pound and a half! That’s pretty good; and I didn’t have to go very far to get them.

Wild blackberries invariably act as homes for some invertebrate wildlife, so I drop the blackberries into some salted cold water and leave them to soak overnight. This has the desired effect of evicting the unwanted beasties which can be rinsed off later.

I’m not sure what I’d like to do with the berries yet, but they freeze well, so until I decide whether to make an apple and blackberry pie or jam, they’ll keep in the meantime.

2 comments:

Jules said...

Thank you for the great tip for getting rid of beasties from blackberries. I'm sure I've eaten my fair share of bugs over the last week!

Alex Rushmer said...

We've been doing the same thing - wonderful to read about someone wnjoying the same fruits of the hedgerows.

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