September is upon us and that means one thing (apart from the return to school) – it’s Blackberry season!
It’s official, Blackberries make us feel good! Transport yourself back to your childhood when your parents took you out to the countryside, armed with a big plastic bowl and some wellies. Remember the sibling rivalry? Who could find the most or the biggest, juiciest berries? The excitement built as you filled your bowl with more and more ripe berries. Who would find the next bramble bush? Who could reach the highest or climb the steepest bank to reach them?
Yesterday, my two daughters and I set off for our own blackberry adventure. Heading to a local reservoir with resealable plastic bags we walked for nearly an hour and got quite competitive! Being out in the fresh air was great for relaxation. The walking good for our heart, lungs and muscles and the whole outing was a lovely family event – the type that creates warm, fuzzy childhood memories.
Back home we weighed our collections, with my eldest daughter winning with 4oz and myself and my youngest with about 3oz each. Not the biggest hoard ever, but enough to make dessert and breakfast!
There are many delicious desserts we could have made with these berries but my girls wanted to keep it simple, just stewing them for about 20 minutes with a little caster sugar. Once cooked we strained the juice so the girls could drizzle blackberry sauce around the outside of their creations – just like the ‘posh’ restaurants and TV programmes.
Picking blackberries and using them immediately in home cooking is a fantastic way to show children the origin of their food. So many people (adults included) don’t know how basic foods such as bread and pasta are made and I’ve frequently been asked by supermarket cashiers ‘What’s this?’ when encountering an avocado, papaya or lychees.
Blackberries are a seasonal fruit and contain many health benefits as well as costing absolutely nothing to obtain! A cup of blackberries (about 8oz) contains 50% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C and are also rich in Vitamin A. This serving size will give you around 7 grams of dietary fibre and small amounts of calcium and iron. By eating fruits and vegetables seasonally, you obtain a wider range of nutrients than you would if you ate the same foods all year round.
What are you waiting for? Take your children, whatever their ages, out for a couple of hours into the countryside to have fun with one very British pastime – Blackberrying! Enjoy watching your little ones get messy and encourage older children in the kitchen to create their own masterpieces. Blackberries make great sweet desserts and jams but also go very well with meat and wild birds such as duck and grouse. Try roast beef with a blackberry sauce served with risotto laced with goat’s cheese – delicious!
By my artistic 11 year old daughter – note the simplicity and red glitter.
By Mummy! Add these ingredients to oats or museli for a healthy, delicious breakfast.
By the leader of the pack, who at 9 years old is not afraid to be different and regularly thinks outside the box!
For more seasonal, fresh, delicious recipes and articles, visit my Facebook Page. I look forward to inspiring you in the kitchen and to hearing your comments. Lorraine
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