First berrying of the year. First berrying for some years actually… Got the tip off for a great site for blackberries and was not disappointed! A huge amount of fat juicy black berries were scoffed and a few even made it home 🙂
As far as I can make out, berrying is becoming something of a dying habit. There was a time when all and sundry would have pounced on a hedgerow stuffed with free berries and devoured the lot before you or I had a look in. I have mixed feelings about this – on one hand it’s a shame that people are unable to grasp simple niceties in life and that this is great tasting produce and free. FREE. On the other hand, I get the pick of the bunch and some proper organic fruit all to myself. I’m not an organic aficionado, frankly I think it’s a load of marketing, but if I tell people there is free and organic produce available some people might get in on the action.
Clear theme above there – FREE. Simple maths in the home, free is less than costing something. Berrying is actually quite fun too so think about getting out with the kids and a few tupperware boxes and then perhaps making a jam or a nice pie when you get back indoors.
There’s a difference between ‘real’ berries and supermarket berries. Most obvious is the size but what will slap you around a bit is the taste. All natural, hedgerow grown berries taste vastly superior to any supermarket offering and this is simply down to the intensity of farming for producing huge quantities of berries in the shops. Shop berries are grown for size and quantity, and the hedgerow really doesn’t care about that. It will do it’s own thing year on year at it’s own pace and bugger anyone who wants it different.
Blackberries lend themselves to a plethora of recipes but one of the easiest is a very berry jam. It has a deep and rich colour to it and really is quite unbeatable on toast in the depths of Winter.
Equal quantities of blackberries and jam sugar (has added pectin as the berries are naturally low in this and the jam won’t set without it), a couple of lemons for a bit more pectin (I told you the berries were low) but you only need the juice and zest.
Add the berries to a pan with the citrus and cook down a little to release the juice. Add the sugar and stir until fully dissolved. Boil for a a few minutes and skim off any scum. Add to sterilised jars and you’re done.