We really enjoy our dog walks through the beautiful countryside surrounding the village.
At this time of year the hedgerows have so much to offer, so our dog walks have turned into foraging walks.
Miss B doesn’t mind, she comes along too.
You’ll find wild blackberries growing almost anywhere. The sprawling, spiteful plants are a nuisance, but try to remember what they offer late summer.
Syrups, jams, sauces, gin, wine, cordials and jellies are some of the things I will attempt to make with our free food, I plan to squirrel away foraged loveliness to the larder for Christmas.
Hazelnuts are also in season now and a great find for the forager, most probably green at the moment (but still delicious) but you could always leave some to ripen in a bowl and eat them at Christmas if you prefer. There’s a place we know of, so I guess Miss B would like to go foraging for hazels soon.
At last our Merton Thornless blackberry canes are ready for picking, well worth the wait and it did not disappoint. Whilst waiting for the berries to ripen we snacked on wild blackberries, which were very nice indeed, but these babies oh what flavour! The berries are enormous and very very tasty (Rich showing them off in the photo) not overly sweet or bitter, just perfect in fact. The best bit of course is no fear of being ripped by thorns when harvesting, I totally recommend finding a spot in your garden for one.
Hopefully next season it will put on more growth and give a bigger yield. I might be able to make a crumble or pie!
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?