As summer draws to a close and autumn is just around the corner the hedgerows are bursting into colour with branches draped in red, orange and purple berries. One of the most popular berries gathered on autumn walks must be blackberries. You can eat them as they come, sprinkle them on ice cream, yoghurt or porridge, bake them in a pie or make blackberry and apple crumble. One of my favourite ways to eat them, when the weather is still warm at least, is this healthy, blackberry smoothie recipe. It makes a refreshing summer breakfast.
Please read my guide to safe and sustainable foraging before picking or eating anything from the wild.
Berries make fabulous healthy smoothies as they contain less sugar than other fruits and are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. I have to admit though this healthy smoothie recipe tastes even better with a little drizzle of maple syrup. I use maple syrup as it is reputedly the healthiest source of sugar there is. I love this blackberry smoothie for breakfast.
Above: Blackberries starting to form as the flowers lose their petals. Below: Blackberries ripening but they’re only ready to pick when completely black and they come away easily when tugged lightly.
Did you know? There are over 375 species of blackberries spread across Europe, northwestern Africa, parts of Asia and North and South America.
When to pick blackberries
Here in the UK, you’ll find blackberries growing in the hedgerows in August, September and early October. Only pick the ripe black coloured berries that easily come away from the stalk. Avoid those fairly close to the ground in case a dog has passed that way and left his calling card!
Blackberries in English folklore
English folklore has it that you shouldn’t pick blackberries after Old Michaelmas Day, 10th October. This is the day Lucifer was expelled from Heaven, falling from the skies into a blackberry bush, which understandably he was not best pleased about. He cursed the blackberries, stomping and spitting on them, making them unfit to eat. To be on the safe side, you might not want to eat them after 29th September as this is when Michaelmas is celebrated in recent years due to the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1752. In the United States, it’s known as National Poisoned Blackberry Day!
Wild blackberry smoothie
- 125 g blackberries or a mix of berries (frozen berries work fine too)
- 150 g natural 0% fat yoghurt
- 0.5 tsp maple syrup (optional)
- crushed (not needed if you are using frozen berries)
- Wash the berries and remove any stalks.
- Tip the yoghurt, syrup and the berries into a blender. Blend until thoroughly mixed and then a little more for good measure.
- If you're using it, stir in the crushed ice.
More blackberry recipes
You might also want to try is this Easy Blackberry Vodka from my friend Suzanne, another Sussex native. I’ll add more when I stumble across ones I particularly love.