Freshly Pressed: No pain, no gain… free food has its price
There are many, many reasons why I love living in the countryside but being able to forage for free food pretty much tops the list.
One of the most abundant sources of said free food in mid/late summer is blackberries. They grow everywhere, even along the motorway. You don’t really want to pick those though when you can find pollution-free bushes along every country lane, in the middle of fields and hanging over numerous garden fences.
England in summer is a berry lover’s paradise.
We’re really lucky as we live near the canal and behind our back garden, there’s a wide expanse of common land almost always full of grazing cows and horses. Right bang in the middle of this flood plain is one of the biggest wild blackberry bushes I’ve ever seen.
This year’s weird weather has meant that everything has flowered early so instead of going blackberry picking in mid to late August, the blackberry bush behind our house is already overladen with fruit.
An hour’s picking today has netted us over 1.5 kilograms of plump, super sweet blackberries. This is just our first picking too as we’ll be able to harvest another bumper crop in about 2 weeks’ time.
However, all that juicy free-ness comes at a painful price… I’m covered in scratches and nicks and am itching all over as I unwittingly brushed both arms (and legs) across a massive stinging nettle as I reached for a clump of berries (the largest, juiciest ones are always an inch out of reach, damn it!). But, like I said, no pain, no gain…
Another 5 apples picked off the tree nearby (again, more free food, yippee!) and we should be able to make at least 2-3 jars of our own blackberry jam.