Thursday, 10 September 2015

Something Blue: Picking and Preserving Wild Blackberries

We're back home in England, and the wild blackberries are ripe and ready all over London, just waiting for us cheapskates, I mean, thrifty foragers! If you're new to preparing food that you find for free (as I'm always telling my daughter, 'we don't eat things we find on the street!!'), it can be a little daunting, especially for us city girls, but blackberries are a great place to start. It's  so simple, but maybe a little guide would be helpful?

1. Find some blackberries. Duh. Once you start looking, you'll notice them everywhere. I sometimes pack a little sports bottle for dog walks so I have somewhere to put them as I pass, since I don't have time for special blackberry hunts. It's annoying to pass a heaving branch, and have nowhere to put them. Little and often.

2. Pick said blackberries. Obviously, don't trespass. If you have to reach over a fence, best to leave it. Also, having both a dog and an imagination, I pick from waist-height upward. I don't want pee berries. And mind the thorns! 

3. Clean said blackberries. I say soak them for a while rather than simply rinse. It really does work much better, and you'd be amazed how dirty they can be. 

4. Freeze said blackberries. I think freezing is by far the best method of preserving berries, so that's what I do, exclusively. It's a two step process: first, place them on a plate or other flat surface, not touching, then freeze. Then, you can pop them off individually and put them in a freezer bag. This way, they don't freeze in one big block.

5. Make pie. Not optional. 

That's it! Happy foraging! 

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