Blackberry season is here! Although it feels rather early in the year, dark, juicy, plump berries are popping up in the hedgerows across West Yorkshire. Blackberries are one of my favourite fruits. Not just for their tastiness and versatility, but because they are free food! A forager’s delight.
I’m one of those people who finds it impossible to pass a packed blackberry bush without stopping to graze. Blackberry season gives me an added excuse to escape the office for half an hour. Though as my planned walks often turn into stationary blackberry-picking sessions, I’m not sure it’s helping my resolution to fit more exercise in.
Of course, blackberries are perfect eaten just as they are. A good half of all the blackberries I pick each year are eaten with porridge or muesli for breakfast or frozen to eat in fruit salads and with pancakes later in the year. But in celebration of this fabulous fruit, I’ve drawn together some of my favourite blackberry recipes. Blackberries freeze really well, so if you’re pushed for time now, just rinse and freeze the fruit then bag them up in the freezer for later consumption.
So, what are you waiting for? Find a spare tub (empty ice cream or margarine tubs are ideal) and go for a stroll to your local hedgerows.
Blackberry gin liqueur is ridiculously easy to make. To get the most out of the berries it’s worth leaving them to seep for up to three months. This means your blackberry gin will be ready around the end of November – just in time for Christmas! I made several batches of blackberry gin last year using this recipe.
If you’re not a fan of gin, then blackberry vodka is just as easy to make and really tasty. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say I actually prefer it to blackberry gin. It is dangerously drinkable. Buy (or recycle) some pretty bottles, fill them with the finished vodka and give them as Christmas gifts. If you can bear to give it away! Find the recipe here.
Blackberry Ice Cream
Homemade ice cream is a real treat. I’m definitely going to be investing some of the blackberries I pick this year to make some tubs of ice cream for the winter. Served with some homemade shortbread, it’s a special last-minute dessert for when you have friends round for dinner. Ice cream is a lot easier to make than you might think. Whip some cream, add sugar and fruit puree and that’s pretty much it! Here’s a great recipe to test out.
Blackberry and Apple Crumble
Is there a more classic British dessert than this? There’s a reason apples and blackberries come into season at the same time: they complement each other perfectly. In fact, as we’ve got some early windfalls from my parent’s apple tree, this is what we’re having for pudding tonight. Nom nom. I’m guilty of making up my own crumble recipe, but if you prefer a more structured method to follow, check out this recipe.
Blackberry and Apple Jam Or Jelly
Home jam or jelly (have a look at this article if you’re not sure of the difference) is far tastier than shop-bought alternatives. You’ll need a good amount of berries, so a jam-making session is perfect for the day after a family blackberry-picking session. If you’re a jelly person, check out this recipe and if you’re a jam fan, this one’s a winner.
Blackberry and Cardaman Pavlova
This week’s guilty confession: last week was the first time I’ve ever made pavlova. And I have NO IDEA WHY. It’s super easy, a great way to use up a glut of eggs and makes a fabulous BBQ dessert. We will definitely be having more pavlova in the future! I made a variation on this recipe (with a bit more cardamon in the base) and mixed a homemade lemon curd through the cream. Well, I needed to use up the egg yolks somehow …
Raw Vegan Blackberry Cheesecake Bars
Cheesecake is, hands down, one of my favourite desserts. And now I can have it on vegan days, with this delicious vegan recipe. Ok, so it doesn’t have actual cheese in it, but those creamy cashew nuts do a good job of tricking your taste buds. Though I suspect the yield in our household may be more like five portions rather than fifteen!
Chocolate Blackberry Pudding
This may be my new favourite blackberry pudding. It may even replace crumble and that is a BIG DEAL as crumble is basically my favourite pudding, ever. It would be in my final meal if I was ever on death row. But this, well this is pretty good. You can’t really go wrong with chocolate and blackberries and the only thing ‘wrong’ with this recipe is that I’m going to need to do a lot of running to justify eating it on a regular basis.
I am still recovering from the after-effects of last year’s blackberry muffins. Not because there was anything wrong with them. They were made with the leftover booze-soaked blackberries from the vodka making so were pretty tasty and we had plenty, so I froze a batch. But as a tip to the wise, if you’re heating up muffins in the microwave, remember that the fruit inside will be a lot hotter than the outside of the muffin. My burnt oesophagus is currently reminding me of this fact. Anyway, here’s the recipe and in the interests of avoiding burnt mouths, wait until they’re cool before eating.
Pork Sauteed with Blackberries
I have to admit that I’m not a huge pork fan. But I can appreciate that pork and blackberries are a great combination. And if you don’t like pork, this recipe works just as well with chicken or turkey. Quick, tasty and worthy of a listing on a restaurant menu – who’s arguing with that?!
Blackberry and Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich
While we’re on the subject of savoury food, what is quicker and tastier as a lunchtime snack than a grilled cheese sandwich? Or as we say in the UK, a cheese toastie. Brie and fruit were meant to be together, and although the traditional combination is brie and grape, blackberries work even better. And if you’re missing your grapes, that sounds like a good excuse to open a bottle of red wine to go with it. Here’s the recipe.
Blackberry Chocolate Truffles
There’s only one way to end a meal and that’s with chocolate truffles. They are incredibly easy to make, you can freeze them and are absolutely delicious. They’re also a great foodie gift if you can bear to give them away. Here’s a recipe for blackberry truffles, but you can also substitute the fresh blackberry puree for your homemade blackberry jelly or blackberry gin or vodka.
What are your favourite blackberry recipes? Share them with me on Twitter!