Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Blackberry Picking

First, a cautionary tale:

I was chatting to a guy about how many tv programs were telling people to go picking wild berries, without any warnings! He told me the following, this was not all that long ago too -  hed this warning!!

'A lady wanted to make her family a lovely blackberry pie for pudding. 

While out picking blackberries, she saw some other berries which looked nice so picked them too.

She baked a pie, six members of her family died.'

Do not go picking any berries you are not 100% sure are safe to eat!!

The art of blackberry picking

I love blackberry picking, funnily I don't really like blackberries (I guess that's why am one of the only ones out of my family who end up with any left to make jam from!) 

It's something I did as a child with my mum, it reminds me of my childhood and I love heading out with the kids on the hunt for them! Our three young children love it and we have taught them well on what to look out for. 

Ok first off, don't eat the red ones....I know, this is going to the sort of guide where am going to assume you have never been blackberry picking before. 

You may find some raspberries on your travels but in my whole life of blackberry picking I have only come across them once! Make sure if you have mini people with you that 'don't eat the red ones' is drummed into them. As on the most part red ones are the scary ones. (Not always, like I said, no going trying some your not sure on.) 

Next point to note, as my lovely friend once reminded me. Don't pick below your knee level. Why you ask? Dogs love to wee all over the place, you will most likely be on a path and am sure a dog as been walked along it at some point. So teach your mini people to 'reach up for berries not down.'

The perfect berry? Not green, red or if gently squeezed is hollow and squishes in your fingers. Your looking for a rich glossy black, plumb and ready to be picked. Be careful when picking the perfect berry, as when they are ready to be picked the smallest shake and they will fall (I have lost a few perfect ones by picking others and they have fallen down in to the brambles never to be seen again!) So support or put something under the branch to collect the runaways. (You can cup your hand under while picking.)

Right my next very important point, wild berries are not ours. So don't strip a bush of every berry, remember all the wild life that will need to eat them too. So I always pick a few from each bush, not striping a whole bush. Quite often, as with anything wild or herbs for that matter, the more you pick the more you get. Start picking early, as soon as you see them turning black, you could encourage more to grow. 

Make sure you are on common public ground.

If your picking next to a road, make sure you don't eat straight from the bush and wash the fruit. 

Don't be like me and go blackberry picking in bare feet. Then have a fight with a blackberry bush catching your hair! 

Be careful of thorns, bugs, spiders, bees and wasps! All sorts of things could be hiding in the branches, so go careful. I try not to brake spiders webs too, they take so long to make and knocking on a spiders web sends them running too! 

A large plastic tub with lid, is the best thing to pick with. I often use a plastic bag, easy to use but can squished them all -ok if your making jam. (My big plastic tubs all some how disappear in a house!)

It's a great way to entertain mini people and also save some pennies too! From pies to jams or just a free snack! 

Keep an eye out for blogs on jams, click here for wild blackberry jam!

No comments:

Post a Comment