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Blackberries are distinctive fruits which grow on bramble with its thorny branches (watch out if you're harvesting) and little red-purple-black fruits made of individual 'drupe's - little drops that hold the seeds and juice.

Blackberries are incredibly versatile fruits, and can be used in a wide variety of foraging recipes – that is, if they don’t all get eaten straight from the bush!

Our bramble guide lists a range of recipes you may like to try, including blackberry cordial, apple and blackberry crumble, blackberry jam and more.

A woman picking blackberries from a hedge, holding a Tupperware full of fruits.
Foraging blackberries. © Mint Images/Getty

Blackberries start off as small and green, before turning red and then gradually darkening through to purple and then glossy black. Go for these ones that are black and shiny, and give them a good wash to remove any dirt or insects that could be lurking.

If you fancy more foraging ideas, head to our foraging hub which includes advice on the best foraging books, an interview with expert forager and author John Wright, and plenty of foraging recipe ideas, such as how to make hazelnut butter or how to make rosehip syrup.

Ingredients

  • 40g Blackberries
  • 150g Caster sugar
  • Vodka, as much as will fit in your jar(s)
  • Cloves, or star anise

Method

  • STEP 1

    Freeze your blackberries in a bag or Tupperware box overnight. This will mimic the first frost, which will make them sweet and juicy. The next morning, mix the frozen berries with the caster sugar in a bowl.

  • STEP 2

    Pour the berries and sugar into a sterilised jar (or distribute evenly between your bottles). I've also seen recipes that add a sprinkle of cloves (four or five) at this stage, or a star anise, but that is dependent on your own taste.

    Top up with vodka, seal securely and give a gentle shake.

  • STEP 3

    Pop your vodka in a cool, dry cupboard somewhere and shake it a few times in the first couple of weeks. Then forget about it for around three months. If you're harvesting in the autumn, this will make your vodka perfect for Christmas.

  • STEP 4

    Strain the contents of the jar or bottles through a muslin cloth and into a bowl, leaving the rich, dark purple liquid free from bits of fruit.

  • STEP 5

    Decant into clean sterilised jars or bottles and serve as a Christmas drink, either straight or with a mixer like soda water or lemonade.


This is a recipe from 365 Days Wild by Lucy McRobert, published by Harper Collins Publishers.

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365 Days Wild by Lucy McRobert

Main image: Blackberry vodka. © Elena Kirey/Getty

Authors

Lucy McRobertWildlife storyteller, communications expert and writer

Lucy McRobert is the Communications Manager at the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, the author 365 Days Wild, and columnist for Birdwatch magazine

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