Every year, when Autumn arrives, it is tradition to hunt down jewelled brambles and pluck lustrous blackberries from their thorny entanglements. In Somerset, my family and I head to familiar countryside spots where, like every year, blackberries can be found in abundance. Wrapped up warm with a bag in hand, we forage enough blackberries to make a years supply of crumbles, and some blackberry wine for good measure.
Blackberry picking demands a certain level of dedication and a complete disregard for the skin on your hands. I have often found myself precariously balancing on a hill side, reaching with all my might for the top branch where, as luck would have it, the most voluptuous blackberries cluster. The brambles are also sheathed in cobwebs and feverishly throwing your hand away from an eight legged decorator nearly always results in a prickly collision with a thorn or two.
But such defences and deterrents are worthy and commendable, because despite the multiple scratches and blackberry ink stained fingers, the prize of a versatile, delicious and quintessentially British fruit at the end of it is completely worth it. There is also something remarkably satisfying and wholesome about creating a dish with hand-picked, wild blackberries, especially if its paired with home grown apples in a crumble – something my Grandma and I make together. Last year I made blackberry butter, which I wrote about here. The dulcet notes blended into the creaminess of the butter was pure heaven on toast in the fresh, autumnal morning.
This year I am looking for some more unusual ways to incorporate my wild blackberries and I’m swaying towards recipes with pork and my beloved goats cheese. I’ve been compiling some recipes over on my Pinterest here, but I am open to any recommendations, so please, please send them my way! 🙂