The humble blackberry produces an image of warm summer picnics and birdsong. Packed with nutrition including: vitamins A, B, C, E and K, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. High concentrations of anthocyanin are responsible for their dark purple colour, and these powerful antioxidants are believed to have a wide range of health benefits. Just a handful of blackberries around 9-10 count towards your five-a-day.
This week I noticed the brief season of overpriced blackberries in British supermarkets. Thankfully they need not nudge a dent in your wallet. From late July through to October they are ready to harvest, growing in abundance pretty much anywhere and yielding large amounts of plump fruit. However picking them is not for the faint hearted, growing upon thorny brambles amongst nettles and thistles. It is a wise idea to wear trousers and long sleeves. Carrying a walking stick is a handy tool, as the largest fruit often grow deep within the bushes and something long and hooked can tug the fruit within reach to pick. Despite this, foraging for tasty fruit is rewarding and fantastic fun. Just remember to leave a few fruit on the bush to feed the birds and other wildlife.
So pies, crumbles and jam aside. What tasty recipes can be produced with your fruity booty?
Apple and Blackberry Loaf
- 250g Self Raising Flour
- 175g Butter
- 175g Soft Brown Sugar
- 1 Eating Apple
- 200g Blackberries
- 1 Orange
- 1/4 tsp mixed spice
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas mark 4. Grease and line a loaf tin.
In a large mixing bowl rub together the flour, butter and sugar into fine crumbs. Set aside 5 tbsp of the mixture with the mixed spice for the topping.
Beat the eggs, adding 1 apple grated and the zest and juice of 1 orange. Add the baking powder to the dry ingredients, and gently stir in the egg mixture. Fold in 150g of the blackberries into the batter and pour in the tin. Add the remaining 50g of blackberries and the set aside topping.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, check, and if turning brown cover with foil. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes. Once baked the loaf will be firm to the touch, but check with a skewer which will come out clean when ready.