Blackberry Foraging Time
It's time to start picking blackberries, so I went out yesterday to forage in the hedgerows for those tasty lush fruits that we will use over the winter for pies, crumbles and jam. Over the next three weeks I will be making regular forages into the countryside so I can fill up our freezer with free fruit of all types. Blackberries are particularly good for freezing.
The blackberries I picked yesterday had benefited from the wet August and were beginning to swell nicely into large berries. Always try to pick the biggest berries which come away from the stem easily, and leave any small or red fruit for another week or so. If you are taking kids out with you blackberry picking, then to avoid their boredom, challenge them to seek our and pick the biggest berry!
Once you have a full container of blackberries, then 'open-freeze' them, by carefully laying them out on non-stick baking parchment in a baking tray or flat container that will fit into your freezer.
Once frozen, which normally takes about 12 hours, bag the blackberries in manageable-size freezer bags, suck out all the air in the bag with a straw, and seal the bag. The bags of frozen blackberries will store for at least 6 months and you can use them when you need them for jam making or blackberry and apple pies and crumbles or mixed fruit pavlovas.
I'm planning to start making blackberry jam when I've picked enough fruit, but more of this in a future blog. If readers can't wait, then see my blog on Jam Making on 14th July and simply supplement blackberries for strawberries in the process.