Friday, 24 August 2012

Foraging in my Day

Ripe blackberries in hedgerow
When we were kids my father used to drive us up into fields near the Dublin Mountains to pick blackberries.  We did it every year and my memory is once we had stuffed our faces and our hands were black we started moaning we were bored and wanted to go home.  Of course we were never let and we had to at the very least fill the bowl we had been given.  When we got home my mother made jam and apple and blackberry tarts.  She used to freeze them as well and I remember trays in the freezer with fruit spread out until it could be picked off and bagged.

I continued on the tradition when my kids were small.  We used to head off with my son on his bike and my daughter in her buggy and Simba the dog in tow.  The kids had buckets and did all the usual moaning while Simba had a great time sniffing out rabbits.

I always remember getting the "funny looks" from passing cars.  At least I thought they were looking at me strangely but maybe they were just curious as to what we were doing.  You always got the odd one who stopped, rolled down the window and gave some sort of advice re: maggots, bugs, pollution etc.

Blackberry jam is up there with the greats and by the greats I mean raspberry and apricot - my favourites.

Blackberry and apple crumble is sublime served with big dollops of whipped cream.  Pure comfort food.

Blackberries also freeze really well and you don't have to go to the trouble my mother did trying to freeze the berries separately.  Unlike softer fruit they don't go into a mush when they defrost and they keep their flavour. 

Plus and it's a very big plus - they are free; they are full of vitamins and anti-oxidants and they have not been flown half way around the globe having been sprayed with pesticides en route. 

Blackberry and apple tart and blackberry muffin
So get back to your roots and go blackberry picking.  Make a day out. Pack a picnic.  Take the dog and the kids.  Then when you get home make a big blackberry and apple tart and enjoy!

Muffin recipe here
Basic tart recipe here


  1. Had my first blackberry of the year on a walk around Lough Boora the other day!

  2. There is a great crop this year - big and juicy! Can't wait to go and get some more ;-)

  3. i have read your blue berry muffin recipes, u made me hungry dude.

    Toscana - Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

  4. Sadly I can't take credit for the recipe but of all the ones we have tried here it is by far the best and works really well with the blackberries as well as blueberries!

  5. hi
    Blueberries are good for overall heart health and preventative maintenance, many people dont like eating raw, so putting it in an unique way of serving, really hats of to u

  6. Black/blue berries also really good cooked in porridge with muscovado sugar stirred in at end to melt.


Please feel free to comment. I love talking food.