Look out for blackberries in hedgerows from July to October. Classic blackberry recipes include summer pudding, trifle, and blackberry jam. Try savoury recipes using blackberry with rich meat like duck.
Blackberries - of which there are more than 2,000 varieties - can be gathered as soon as they ripen from red fruit into dark, plump berries and can be eaten fresh (they only keep for a short time) or preserved into excellent jelly or jam. Wild blackberries are as good as strawberries and raspberries, and sometimes superior in a good year. Their perfume is quite exotic for something that grows so abundantly. Cultivated blackberries are bigger and duller, but improve when cooked.
In earlier years, it was considered unlucky to go brambling (the term used for picking blackberries) after Michaelmas, on September 29. In any case, blackberries are past their best after this time because of the cooler and wetter weather by month's end.
The rich, deep, purple-black tones of the blackberry are delicious in pies, crumbles, ice cream, fools, jams and summer puddings and are a natural partner for the first of the cooking apples. The slight acidity of blackberries is also an excellent foil for rich or gamey meat such as venison, lamb or pheasant.
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