Old Fashioned Blackberry Recipes

Early autumn is a great time to go foraging for free food. The wild fruit trees are laden down and the hedgerows are glistening with blackberries, so armed with a stout pair of gloves, a jacket with sleeves and a basket there is no better way to spend an afternoon.

Blackberries are best gathered when ripe and on a fine day. As well as being delicious to eat they are packed with polyphenols and anthocyanins both of which may help to prevent cancer. They are rich in vitamins A & C , low in calories and high in fibre and available free of charge on hedgerows everywhere!

The first recipe makes an excellent pudding. Toast some thin slices of bread and butter them generously. Line the sides and bottom of a pie dish making them fit neatly.Fill the space with ripe blackberries sifting plenty of sugar among them. Cover with a piece of well buttered toast and bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes..Serve cold accompanied by custard .

For this recipe you first make a round big shortcake biscuit with 1/2lb flour, 3oz of butter 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of salt and a little cold water. Put the pastry into a greased baking tin and bake in a moderate oven.When it is baked split it horiziontally through the middle and leave it to one side.Stew some blackberries and sugar to a thick marmalade consistency. When this is cool spread it on the lower half of the shortcake biscuit then cover this with the other piece if biscuit putting the crusty side downwards. Spread the remainder of the fruit on the top of this and decorate with a little whipped cream. Delicious for afternoon tea!

The following recipe you may be familiar with but there is a twist to it. Put some ripe berries in a pan and nearly cover them with cold water and bring slowly to the boil bruising the fruit frequently with a wooden spoon. Allow to boil slowly bruising them occasionally until all the juice is extracted. Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth and measure the juice. Return to the pan and boil for 15 minutes and then measure again and for each pint of liquid allow 3/4. lb of sugar .Boil the liquid and sugar together, skimming well, until the jelly will set when a little is tested on a plate. At this point divide the liquid into two and pot one half in the usual way. Allow the other half to cool but not set and into this pour a measure of sloe gin or brandy to taste (the amount will vary according to your taste). When cool, pot in the usual way but be certain to keep it separate from the non alcoholic bramble jelly . The tipsy bramble jelly, as we call it, is delicious warmed and served over ice cream as an alternative to a Christmas pudding but of course may be used at any time of the year or even given as a gift with a pretty label and jam pot cover . I think this is my favourite type of jam!


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