It's that time of the year again when wild blackberries are getting ripe and can be found in abundance growing wild around Ireland. We think that wild blackberries have an amazing flavour and we have a few tips for picking the best berries and, if you can manage to refrain from eating them all as you pick them, we have some tips on how to store them or cook them up in the kitchen!
Collecting Wild Blackberries
If you have small children, going on a blackberry foraging adventure is a great way of getting them to eat these little beauties which are low in energy, fat and sugar and are also a good source of fiber, Vitamins C and E and folic acid. When going foraging for blackberries remember to:
- Bring a container to store your wild treasures in.
- Make sure you forage away from busy roadsides so that you are not picking berries that are potentially polluted with car fumes.
- Pick berries that are fully ripe (nice and black and plump)
- Make sure you wear suitable clothing (long sleeves) as the thorns can be quite sharp.
- Be sure to leave some berries on the bushes for the birds as they eat them too.
Preparing and Cooking with Blackberries
Blackberries are very easy to prepare - you just need to remove the stalks and wash them in water and you're ready to go!
If you don't like the pips of berries, a juice extractor is a great way to extract the juice from the berries whilst eliminating the pips at the same time. You can then use the juice to cook with.
If you have been lucky enough to pick a bumper crop, you can freeze them easily for use later on in the year. Simply wash them and dry off, or shake off as much of the water as you can. Lay the berries on a flat sheet to flash freeze them (this is done to ensure that they don't all stick together in one large clump when they are frozen) - once they are frozen you can pop them into a freezer bag and eat within 6 months.
You can also try freezing 1 -3 berries (depending on the size) in an ice cube tray and pouring water over them to create a visually interesting and tasty ice cube for drinks!
Blackberries pair up brilliantly with any other kinds of berries - strawberries, blueberries, raspberries - to make up a lovely berry mixture to go with ice cream or to add to breakfasts or as a simple dessert with some cream.
Healthy Blackberry Smoothie
This is a quick and easy recipe that we found over on Driscolls Berries is packed full of goodness - you can try it with a selection of mixed berries or with just blackberries !
2 Cups of unsweetened almond milk
2 Cups berries (blackberries or mixed)
1 Tsp. each of chia seeds, ground flax seeds and shelled hemp seeds
1/4 Tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
1 medium banana
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You can tweak the cinnamon and maple syrup according to your taste.
Other classic blackberry recipes you can try
Blackberries are a great addition to a pie and go particularly well with apples - Delia Smith has a great recipe for a shortcrust pastry apple and blackberry pie which you can try with your crop.
Try replacing the blueberries in this pancake recipe with Blackberries for a seasonal twist!
If you have a load of berries you can try making this delicious Blackberry jam recipe from Donal Skehan