Blackberries are in season from the late summer until the start of October when legend has it that they should not be picked after Old Michaelmas day, on the 11th October, as the Devil would have spat on them. This year they seem very (berry?) early, probably due to the splendid weather we had in July. Here's how best to use them.
Foraged–and thus free–food is a simple, satisfying and delicious pleasure and blackberries surely are one of the most commonly foraged fruits in Britain. I remember picking them as a child – we always kept an empty ice cream tub in the car for the purpose – then enjoying them in a crumble, or simply stewed with apple.
Start the day with a liquid breakfast of a blackberry and apple smoothie, which is packed with 5 portions of fruit and veg, including a hidden handful of spinach which is undetectable to the taste.
Blackberries are usually paired with apples but are equally delicious with pears. My easy to make tray bake is perfect for using up those windfall pears which rarely ripen.
I love loaf cakes, easy to put together and not needing to be decorated they are perfect for fruity flavours, and this blackberry and apple loaf from Fab Food 4 All looks fantastic when sliced.
If you cannot eat gluten it does not mean that you need to miss out on delicious bakes. Sarah from Maison Cupcake has a lovely recipe for gluten free blackberry and white chocolate blondies that were so good her husband insisted that she make another batch for his office. (If you are baking gluten free for someone, it is very important to pay attention to cross contamination issues).
Individual cakes can often feel more special than a slice from a large cake and these mini Victoria sponges with a blackberry cream look lovely and are very easy to make.
Blackberry and apple pie is a classic combination, Emily, A Mummy Too’s pie was inspired by the Great British Bake Off, and made her husband glad he had married her – this seems like a winning recipe.
This blackberry and bourbon Eton mess from Cook Sister is a clever twist on the traditional version which, of course, is made with strawberries . There are some handy foraging tips here too.
Why go for the classic jam when you can make a silky smooth vibrantly coloured blackberry curd. Urvashi’s beautiful blackberry curd is perfect for filling macarons, tarts or simply spreading on toast.
This Blackberry Elderflower and Pimms cake from Sarah at Taming Twins is an absolute show stopper and would make an amazing centre piece for any party, as well as being the perfect late summer birthday cake.
Perfect for preserving your blackberries to use all the year round is this blackberry vinegar from Monica at Smarter Fitter. It is really easy to make and can be used in place of balsamic to give a fruity kick to salad dressings, or drizzle on roasted root vegetables.
Read more articles by Helen Best-Shaw here