I read a comment recently by MasterChef’s Gregg Wallace who said that there is a certain sadness when blackberries come into season as they are the last of the summer berries. I have to agree with him as I feel the same!
Not only sad in the sense of the finale in berry crops, but also as their appearance signals the end of summer. However, there is a positive spin on this as hedgerows are covered with beautiful onyx coloured fruity jewels which are just begging to be picked.
The ‘Indian Summer’ has descended upon the UK this September (a much welcomed relief from constant rain clouds) makes berry picking the perfect pursuit for maximising those last few weeks of evening sunshine before the dark nights draw in.
Canal-side hedgerows, open fields and recreation parks are great environments for wild bramble bushes which bear an abundance of blackberry fruits and as these are public places, you can pick them free of charge! (It is worth noting that before picking, ensure you are picking berries on public land as opposed to private property).
Armed with Tupperware boxes, we made our way down to Knowle Locks which is on the Solihull/Warwickshire border and began picking berries along this locally loved canal side. With the few days of good sunshine, there were some ready to pick and some that we know will be ripe in the days to come.
But back to our own agenda and thinking ahead to making crumbles, picking blackberries which perhaps weren’t perfect was fine as fruit will soften and stew when cooked for a crumble so a perfect specimen isn’t vital (scroll below for recipe).
Blackberry & Gooseberry Crumble
300g Gooseberries (canned in syrup)
1 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
75g Margarine/butter (diced/cubed)
50g Caster Sugar
100g Plain Flour
Or ready-to-use Crumble Mix.
· Make sure the blackberries are washed well in cold water before cooking.
· Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4-5.
· In a saucepan gently heat the blackberries with gooseberries (plus syrup) and the caster sugar.
· Keep heating and occasionally stir the mixture until it becomes stewed and mushy.
· Place the stewed fruit into an oven-proof dish and cover with crumble mix (home-made or ready-to-use).
· Place in the oven for 20 minutes or longer if required, until the crumble mix has become slightly golden.
· Serve hot with ice-cream, custard, or cream.