Summertime Berry Picking
If You Go Down To The Woods Today...
Picking wild berries, particularly blackberries, is something I have been doing for around 45 years. It has taken me up onto the English South Downs and woods in Sussex and Kent to the large forests in Bavaria, Southern Germany. It has been an activity that for me has become a bit of a hobby, although I'm not particularly interested in any other berry picking and it is somewhat seasonal.
I have spent many happy hours with my children, armed with picnics, old clothes and plastic tubs amongst the brambles on lazy, summer days. Despite the thorns and thistles we have enthusiastically attacked the bushes as if the unwitting wild berries were to be our only source of food for the next few days. Even the big juicy ones hanging seductively on the branches that would be far too high for the normal person to have any interest in, just have to be acquired, no matter the cost. I have even discovered one child standing on his brothers shoulders to reach it and many cuts and grazes later, triumphantly places it in his tub. No matter if the younger members of the party seem to have so few in their tubs- although the red lips did tell a story of their own, which I never did believe had anything to do with sunburn.
Before long the weight of the tubs demand a rest and refreshments and tiredness is soon forgotten by the sight of a tree to climb or a stream to check out. I have also enjoyed many happy hours picking wild berries on my own. It has been my time to get away from it all and just enjoy the sounds of nature, to feel at one with it. At the end of the day, there is something exhilarating about being out in the fresh natural surroundings, away from the noise and pollution of the town and returning home with delicious wild berries ready to test the culinary skills!
A Healthy And Educational Outdoor Activity - How important is this?
How important is such an outdoor activity for your child?
Which Berries Should You Pick?
The berries are ripe and juicy when they are black.
Leave the red ones to ripen before picking.
Serves: several jars, depending on the amount of berries
7 Easy Steps For Making Jam- Ingredients
- lemon juice and sugar
- jam jars
- Place the blackberries in a colander and wash thoroughly in the sink, gently turning with your hands as you do so. Watch out for any foreign articles, discarding everything but the blackberries.
- Weigh the drained blackberries and make a note of how much you have. This can be proudly announced to the family of their achievements!
- Place in a large jam pan and add 2x15ml spoons lemon juice for every 1.5kg blackberries. Simmer gently until well cooked and softened.
- Add the same weight of sugar as the blackberries, stir over low heat until dissolved.
- Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 30 minutes, or until setting point is reached. Make sure your jam pan is large enough to allow to boil steadily. The method I use to test is to turn off the heat whilst you place a teaspoonful onto a cold saucer and place in fridge until cold. Skim your finger gently over the top and if it is set it will wrinkle. If not, allow to boil for a bit longer and test again.
- Pour into warmed jam jars, filling as near to the top as you can and place lids firmly on top.
- When cold the jam should be set and ready to eat. Enjoy!
The Proof Is In The Eating!
How do you best enjoy blackberry jam?
Blackberries For A Healthy Diet
The nutritious value of blackberries: are high in antioxidant vitamins A and C, potassium and calcium as well as containing high dietary fiber and heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats.
8 Reasons Why Berry Picking Is Good For You And The Kids
- It gets you out in the fresh air.
- It provides great exercise,such as walking and stretching.
- It's a natural way for children to develop their senses by touching, smelling, listening, tasting and seeing everything that nature provides.
- A great way to learn about nature by actually being there.
- The blackberries provide a natural source of minerals and vitamins, including sunshine (hopefully at this time of the year- August/September) to get your vitamin D.
- It is something the whole family can do together
- It involves children in the preparation of food to excite them in eating natural, healthy food.
- It teaches children to contribute, share and to work together for a common purpose.