2015-08-13 / From The Garden

Time for Blackberries

Blackberries are a very special fruit. They are rarely all sweet and at times even bitter. However, when just the slightest bit of sugar is added to this berry it is totally transformed.

The blackberry season has begun and runs through September; this is the prime time to pick. Children love picking berries. Take them to a pick-your-own farm and help teach them where food actually comes from.

Picking tips

. Wear long sleeves and long pants, as most bushes are very thorny. . Pick firm, plump looking berries, the squashed ones will just go bad quicker and taint the rest of your batch. . Wash berries with cold water. . Eat or freeze your berries within 24 hours. . Don’t wash the berries until you are about to eat or freeze them, otherwise they’ll spoil quickly. . If you get blackberry stains on your clothes, cover the stains in white vinegar and leave to sit for 30 minutes, then rinse with cold water and wash as normal.

Tips for freezing

. Berries frozen with sugar better retain their color and texture, while those frozen without are perfect for adding to quick breads or cakes. . Lump a couple of handfuls into a freezer bag or container and put straight into the freezer – this way they tend to come out in a big lump, but this doesn’t tend to matter for baking, jam or smoothies. . To freeze individual berries (for breakfast cereal or snacks), spread the berries in a single layer across a baking tray and freeze for 24 hours before putting them in a bag or other container. . Put blackberries through a food mill to remove the seeds when making jam or pie. If this is not done you might think you are eating jam with gravel in it. . Frozen berries will last up to about eight months.

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