As a kid, blackberry picking up at Harwell woods was the only activity I remember enjoying en famille. Back then, the sixties, there were always other pickers about, but I find now that I pick alone, even though we’re lucky enough to have good brambles on waste ground in the heart of the village here.
A tip I picked up back then which I always use – pick along a bank of brambles then, when you reach the end, turn round and pick the same bushes in the opposite direction. There are always loads you will have missed.
Here are recipes for the classic blackberry jam and blackberry and apple crumble.
Two of my favourites are blackberry chutney, but be sure to keep stirring or it will catch on the bottom of the pan and spoil the flavour, and the delicious Georgian sauce makvali, which I only discovered last year. Makvali is basically a chilli sauce with blackberries as the base rather than tomatoes – goes well with anything, meat or vegetarian.
I’m using the phrase ‘seasonal food’ to indicate those foods which, generally, are only available in their growing season, so many are wild and all grow in the UK.