Posted: Monday 8 October 2012
by James Alexander-Sinclair
Gathering blackberries is one of the few chances gardeners get to do something hazardous, because blackberries really do not want to be gathered.
This has been a pretty rubbish season for fruit. We have four pears on a tree that last year held over a hundred (and don't even mention plums to me). But there is some fruit around - enough for a decent pie at least.
The blackberries are still fruiting, but gathering them is quite an undertaking. It is one of the few chances gardeners get to do something hazardous, because blackberries really do not want to be gathered. You have to fight for every berry against not only yards and yards of vicious briars seemingly determined to snaggle both skin and clothing, but also against the nettles that invariably grow at the foot of the hedges. Not to mention the fact that all the best berries are always just out of reach.
It's tough out there ladies and gentlemen.
However, there are compensations. My daughter, Stroma, is a mildly obsessive baker. If she had her way there would be at least two cakes baked every day whenever she is in the house - in which case I would be almost completely spherical. You can see a selection of her cakes here.
She makes some extraordinarily delicious little cakes - blackberry and hazelnut friands (a Nigel Slater recipe), using just a few blackberries. Perfect if you have neither time nor available hedgerows.