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Pick your own blackberries

September is the perfect time to go foraging for blackberries. One of the most abundant free foods along our canals, they provide a healthy treat and are a great excuse to spend some quality time by the water.

Blackberries courtesy of Phil Long on flickr

Blackberries aren't fussy about where they grow. Whether you live in the city centre or out in the countryside, you're bound to be able to find some along our towpaths.

Blackberry picking tips

  • Go for shiny black berries. Berries with any red on them won't be ripe just yet.
  • Ripe blackberries should be easy to pull away from the plant. If they don't come away easily, leave them for next time.
  • Don't pick blackberries that are too close to the ground. You don't want to eat any a passing dog might have been busy on.

Storing and using blackberries

You can store the berries in the fridge for a few days if you're not using them straight away.

You can also freeze blackberries and cook with them straight from the freezer without defrosting.

Before you cook or eat them, give them a good rinse with cold water as they might be harbouring some fruit worms. These are harmless but probably not what you want to eat.

What to cook

Blackberries are great to eat raw, add to porridge or make jam with. However, it's hard to beat a blackberry and apple crumble. Here's our favourite recipe:

Blackberry and apple crumble

  • 1kg of cooking apples and blackberries. The ratio will differ depending on how many blackberries you manage to pick.
  • 1 lemon
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 200g plain or wholemeal flour
  • 100g butter
  • 50g of ground almonds or oats or desiccated coconut
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon

Cut the apples up into one-inch chunks and add to a greased baking dish. Add the blackberries and grate the zest of the lemon over the fruit. Juice the lemon and mix this in with the fruit. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top.

With your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour and then stir in your sugar, cinnamon and almonds/oats/coconut. Mix it all together and sprinkle the crumbs over the fruit.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbling up around the edges of the dish.

Last Edited: 13 September 2021

photo of a location on the canals
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