Food for Free

Blackberries

There are many advantages to living on the doorstep of a wooded area. For instance, the abundance of wildlife. During the spring pheasants venture from the woods to look for potential mates, often ending up in our garden eyeing up our hens before deciding they are of course not suitable after all. Muntjac deer are beautiful to watch, especially on frosty quiet mornings. There is something very majestic about it.

Of course, sharing a boundary with an unspoilt area of natural beauty is far more appealing than beer swigging party crazy neighbours. Well, it is for me! The peace and quiet, nature, wildflowers and native trees are all beyond our back door. Woodlands tend to offer much more than what I’ve described, they also provide food. Blackberries and lots of them!

Our own cultivated variety ‘Merton Thornless’ is still a young specimen, fruit this year will be thin on the ground, the few berries it has produced will ripen late summer. The wild blackberries that we’re picking are plump, juicy and taste wonderfully sweet with full flavour, evoking childhood memories of foraging for blackberries to take home so that mum could make a pie. Yummy.

Do you prefer the taste of wild blackberries or cultivated varieties? Which cultivated varieties do you grow?

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5 comments

  1. I have to say I have never eaten cultivated blackberries! Do post back with your thoughts when you have done a comparison? Our house here is also on the edge of woodland and we too enjoy foraging. The chanterelles are out now and we have enjoyed the fruits of walnut trees, cherry trees, wild damson, sweet chestnut, apple and plum trees which are around us. I also made elderflower champagne and cordial last month which was a first! Making produce from foraging efforts has to be one of the most rewarding things, don’t you think?

  2. I completely agree Penny, very rewarding. We have elderflower too but I am yet to make champagne from them. Still waiting to taste our cultivated blackberries, they seem to be taking forever to ripen!

  3. I don’t have a cultivated bush but love to pick wild blackberries from our lane. Apple & blackberry crumble with custard – yum! I have heard that you can grow cultivated blackberries in a big pot. Do you know if this is true of if you need a particular kind?

  4. Hi Sara
    Mmmmm apple & blackberry crumble…..
    I am currently growing our Merton Thornless in a very large pot and its doing OK. As long as you keep yours well watered during hot and dry spells and canes are supported, I would say growing one in a pot is fine. Perhaps try and choose one that does not grow too large.
    I will plant ours out in its final position soon though, now that the rest of the plot has been finished. The pot was only temporary till the plot was levelled off. A post for that to come!

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