I just love the beginning of Autumn. The weather is still warm, the light is gorgeous, the colours are vibrant and this year the long awaited blackberries are bountiful. Blackberrying still manages to deliver, without fail, a fabulous family activity that excites everyone equally and doesn’t herald the response, “Do we have to?” from languid teenagers. So, thank goodness for good old fashion brambling. I love that it doesn’t have any connection with technology: it always feels nostalgic and I have a brief flirtation of myself as Ma Ingles in The Little House on the Prairie, gathering produce and fayre.
So last Saturday provided the perfect weather for our family excursion. Equipped with plastic containers, a folding chair for granny and promises of tempting recipes to keep the kids on their toes we set off to the country. Two hours later, the dogs were well exercised, the containers were heaving with sunshine warm blackberries and our fingers and lips stained purple.
With a real sense of satisfaction we looked upon the fruits of our labour, and headed home a little battle scarred with bramble scratches and nettle stings. Onto phase two; jam, jellies and pies.
We have always tried to get the kids interested in food and food provenance and making jam is one of the easiest and most satisfying introductions to this. Few kids dislike jam, so making it themselves having picked the fruit is a real winner. When we get home we set aside the majority of the fruit for jam and we use crab apples picked from the same hedgerows to help set it. But most importantly we reserve a good amount for a generous crumble for Sunday lunch (a family favourite pudding). Any left overs are used for smoothies and snacking. All in all, it was a very successful day out.
If you love blackberries as much as we do, let us know here and we’ll share with you our favourite five sites in Cambridge for brambling.
Author, Dawn Giesler, founder of Scuseme Cambridge has lived and worked in Cambridge for over twenty years. Find out more here
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