After I ran away to dwell in a tiny village on the highest left hand facet of Greece, reverse Corfu and beneath the mountains of Albania, I used to be taught to forage by its venerable ladies. In late spring and early autumn, we’d climb the foothills with sharp pointed knives to chop wild herbs and greens, or stab into the soil to carry edible roots. 

What astonished me, given their vigilance, was the best way they ignored the blackberries rising in profusion round them. This may increasingly have been as a result of traditionally, the crops, stems and bark had been brewed for medical use as a treatment for abdomen ulcers. I really feel honoured to say I might repay their generosity over sharing with me their plant data to point out them how blackberries might be made into compotes to go along with yogurt or a model of the jellies so well-liked in Greece to supply a customer with a tiny cup of sturdy espresso.

Not so way back, the Black Berry was a preferred Canadian model of smartphones, beloved of significant techno geeks, and killed off by its insistence on sticking with its personal in-house methods in 2016 whereas the remainder of the world took up with Android and iOS. Now all we’re left with is the fruit, a relation, would you consider of the rose household. 

It’s additionally associated to the raspberry, which you will have guessed when trying to lever out the tiny seeds of each from the crevices in your enamel. The numerous distinction between them is the truth that the stem or ‘torus’ stays contained in the blackberry when picked, whereas with the raspberry it stays behind on the department.

The Greeks could not have employed the fruit. However its earliest identified consumption has been established within the stays of a Danish lady generally known as the Haraldskaer Lady, preserved in a bathroom and relationship from round 2,500 years in the past. Then there’s a 1696 English document of the fruit, the London Pharmacopoeia, displaying blackberries had been used to make wines and cordials. Take into consideration making a Cassis-style liqueur with them.

The berries, leaves and stems have additionally been used to dye materials and hair. Native Individuals have even been recorded utilizing the stems to make rope. Planting the shrubs round buildings, crops and livestock to create protecting boundaries in opposition to enemies and enormous wild animals was widespread each in Europe and in North America. But when all you need to do is eat them, it’s best to know that in addition to being free should you exit and choose them, blackberries supply the best antioxidant exercise of generally consumed fruits, subsequent to pomegranates. 100 grams of them ship 10.2 grams of carbohydrates, 5.3 of that are fibre, double the fibre content material of blueberries extra normally punted for that capacity.

You may inform if an individual comes from the north or the south of England by how they describe the fruit. Within the south, it’s a blackberry. Within the north, it’s a bramble, named after the impenetrable thicket on which it grows.

Given blackberries mature concurrently apples, it makes an apparent pairing for scrumptious seasonal pies and crumbles. However consider using them as a fundamental course ingredient. This recipe pairs them with grilled rooster, extending the usage of the barbecue just some weeks extra. However right here it’s cooked beneath an oven grill, in a recipe that works equally nicely with geese’ legs and thighs.

  • 170g blackberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chilly butter reduce into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 4 rooster thighs
  • 4 drumsticks
  • salt and black pepper
  • Flat-leaf parsley


Warmth the grill to medium. In a small saucepan, mix blackberries, water, white wine vinegar, and sugar and simmer, mashing sometimes, till the liquid has diminished to about 2 tablespoons, 18 to twenty minutes. 


Stir within the butter, a dice at a time, and the mustard. Pour half the glaze right into a bowl and reserve. 


Pat the rooster items dry on paper towels. Season with salt and black pepper. Grill, skin-sides up, lined with a sheet of aluminium foil for quarter-hour. Uncover, baste with among the glaze and grill, turning and basting repeatedly till cooked by way of, 10 to 12 minutes. 


Sprinkle with recent flat-leaf parsley and serve with the remaining glaze. 

This column written by Julia Watson initially appeared within the September 2021 version of The Bugle.

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