Although there are many edible foods growing free in the wild, blackberries have to be one of the most popular! They grow in abundance in hedgerows, and at the bottom of gardens, just screaming to be picked and baked in a hot crumble, just perfect for those autumn evenings which are drawing in ever so quickly.
Reading the title of this post you might think I am anti-blackberry but that is not the case at all. As a child I recall many adventures scouring the hedges for those berries which were just plump and juicy enough to be picked. As a child I recall being told not to eat blackberries off the bush. I didn’t listen. The temptation was always too much and my rebellion too great.
There were two things I was told to remember when picking blackberries. Firstly, always pick them from waist height upwards. This is to ensure that any picked berries are not contaminated with urine from dogs, or wild animals such as foxes.
The second was to bring the blackberries home and soak them in saltwater for 10 -15 minutes to draw out any grubs. (About 8 tablespoons of salt per cup of water, remember to rinse them in clean water afterwards!). The reason I no longer eat blackberries off the bush is because I have seen this method be effective in removing the small white worm like beasties that can take up residence there.
To be perfectly honest, in all the years of soaking blackberries, the majority of time no grubs have been found. And in my younger days when I did eat blackberries off the bush, certainly I did not suffer any ill effects if I did inadvertently munch on some of the little critters. The general consensus on google seems to be the the only consequence would be an acquirement of a little extra protein! These days however, the thought of a little extra makes me feel quite ill. So I always soak my berries – before turning them into a crumble of course!
What are your favourite blackberry recipes?