When did you last go blackberrying?

I’ve gone to my favourite blackberry patch a couple of times this year (and we have blackberries growing in the garden too – which tells you something about our garden).

Friday, all things being equal, is the best day of the week for this as it is furthest away from the previous weekend when the easy pickings may have been taken. Although this is obviously less important after drenching weekends, in secret secluded blackberry patches and probably these days rather than in the distant past. For my guess is that blackberrying is done by fewer people these days. What do you think?

And how about you?

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9 Replies to “When did you last go blackberrying?”

  1. I think it'll be very popular after the 31st October if there are any left on the brambles. I suspect road kill recipes will abound too and also a rise in the use of traditional medicines from foxglove tea to chewing on willow bark.

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  2. Yes a good patch for picking close to us that never gets hedge trimmed so guess we have about ten kilos in freezer.
    Hope it gives you a chance to relax as your lifestyle of trying to put lots of things to rights just has to be demanding.

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    1. It's a family tradition. We have gone when the kids have been in baby carriers, and having to be careful they didn't grab a whole stem/ bunch! We are lucky as there are also apple trees too, so we get enough to make two apple & blackberry crumbles, and some fruit compote.

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  3. Yes definitely fewer blackberrying than there used to be, but suspect many do as I do and still pick the occasional one and pop it in their gob as they are out for a walk. I once collected a number of rasps in the palm of my hand and just as I was about to eat them en masse a friend asked me something and we fell into a short conversation. When it ended I looked down at the wild fruit I was looking forward to wolfing down and noticed a horde of tiny maggots had taken the opportunity to crawl out of the rasps and onto my hand. Now I just don't wait long enough for that to happen which helps me ignore the issue of potential invertebrate additives. It turns out much of the 'clean' fruit and processed juices we consume inevitably contain bits of insect, fruit fly eggs etc so we really need to get used to the idea that much of our food isn't and can't be 'pure' - it certainly won't be with foraging. It makes me cringe to go into a supermarket and see blackberries in plastic, shrink wrapped tubs, I definitely prefer the idea of plucking them from the hedgerow along the canal towpath as I walk to my local Tesco. Coating with the particle exhaust from cars isn't an issue you just have to gauge dog leg cocking heights.

    I recently saw details for a foraging workshop where the subject was making bramble baskets for collecting brambles - as in the basket were actually made from bramble stems where they'd somehow removed the thorns. I've been fascinated and intrigued by this ever since and just wish it had been a local class - I've a recurring image of me amazing friends and relatives by presenting them with little thorn less baskets for blackberry picking and telling them what they are made from. Maybe they wouldn't be quite as excited about it as I am, but perhaps we'd be surprised, I certainly bloody love the concept.

    When we had a wildlife group for our local wood we had the idea of E.F.A - Enhanced Foraging Areas. Essentially if you were doing guided walks to talk to people about foraging and cultural uses of wild plants you could judiciously plant out some of the less common ones so you could go - 'A ha! Look this is pignut, the tuber is edible.' or 'My goodness we're lucky to find this here, it's a burdock. Our ancestors would bake its roots which are a good source of starch and of course nowadays it's still used with dandelion to make a soft drink. The seedheads are designed to catch on fur so animals can help disperse the seeds, and this in turn inspired the creation of Velcro!' That sort of thing. Cheating a wee bit maybe, but one hell of a lot more justifiable and constructive than the practice of sticking ornamental plants in a wood to 'brighten them up'. Mind you the abbreviation could do with a bit of work.

    It would also be great if each area had a little cottage industry based on collecting from common land and hedgerows - locally foraged and made rowan jelly, elder flower cordial, blackberry and raspberry jams, rose hip syrup. We definitely should have foraging as an activity for schools, I'm pretty sure they do it in some Scandinavian countries. Anyway these are my ramblings on brambling.

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  4. I can't. It is one of the things I used to do with my late grandmother, and I just can't without bursting into tears. It is odd the parts of grief that stay with you, even though she has been gone for many years now.

    I do wish more people would do it, more kids doing it with their grandmothers. Make memories, as much as pies and jelly.

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  5. I went down to London in August to see my grandchildren and when I asked them what they wanted to do they said "pick blackberries and make jam like we did last year" So we did, found plenty around Finsbury Park and early because of the hot weather. Was advised by a council worker not to pick the ones low down because of dogs and people!
    I've been picking here in Devon and also nutting. Lots of hazelnuts this year and the squirrels haven't had them all yet (more nuts or less squirrels?) Several people when they've seen me gathering nuts hadn't realised they existed or couldn't recognise a hazel but when informed were worried that I might not leave any for the squirrels!

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  6. Had several pickings thi syear. Have always gone blackberying. As a child in derbyshire it was always the highlight of the last week of the school holidays and a way of providing fruit for the freezer for me to eat in pies through the winter. Brung up poor so scavenging and barter have always been part of my culture.
    until probably last year had seen quite a few blackberriers out locally (just west of cambridge).... This year I have changed my bushes as I have a commute for a change, so I dont conflict with them. But, living ina village means that there is still a strong tradition of wild fruit gathering, etc. Certainly havent seen as many folk picking on our busy roadsides this year (a place I would never pick - all those fumesand nitrates and dust building up on th eberries)

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