The blackberry has been a local foraging favourite for centuries – in fact, archaeological evidence suggest that berry picking goes back almost 8,000 years! Found growing on the branches of the wild and unruly bramble, these delicious, deep coloured berries are most commonly found between the months of August and late October. From jams to blackberry coulis, the chefs at The Merchant Hotel can use blackberries to brighten numerous dishes throughout the autumn season.
Where To Find
Blackberries are most commonly found in forested areas, and the most flavoursome blackberries are those which have grown on plants in direct sunlight.
Not only are blackberries found on the spikey branches of brambles, their juice will also stain hands and clothing. Therefore, gloves and old clothing are highly recommended. Be sure to bring a basket or suitable container, as they may bruise if they are squashed into a small bag.
A shiny, plump exterior and rich black colour, are the indicators of a ripe berry. Don’t pick berries that are red or purple, as they won’t ripen once they have been picked. Simply prise individual fruits off the bramble and enjoy.
How To Prepare
Blackberries are a wild food, so before using them in your cooking it is important to soak them in a bowl of salt and water for three hours to remove any dirt or bugs.
To Make Blackberry Liquor
Place a bottle of brandy into a 1 litre Kilner jar, add 150 grams of sugar, fill with blackberries and leave for three months.
Top tip – When you are decanting your liquor, reserve the blackberries and freeze them. Drop one into a glass before pouring prosecco over it for a refreshing and elegant drink. Also try liquidising the boozy berries and swirl into a good quality vanilla ice cream.
These tasty berries are a great source of vitamin C and dietary fibre. Studies also show that they have one of the highest levels of antioxidants per serving of any other food tested, making them ideal for battling autumnal colds and flus.