During the Summer Holidays the kids asked to go out on a blackberry picking walk followed by an afternoon of crumble and pie making.
Despite already having a garden full of blackberries (letting your garden overgrow does have some advantages!), knowing full well that the kids would not actually want to eat the baked goods and it still being a little bit early in the blackberry picking season I indulged them as it’s a great way of keeping them busy on a refreshing walk.
We went down to Westfield Pill off Neyland Marina. It is a lovely walk with stunning marina and river views with lots of wildlife. There is also the advantage of the blackberries not being near the roadside so therefore not full of nasty chemicals (just the usual harmless bugs! Nice!).
As well as blackberries we also found some crab apples which can be used in baking (if you’re worried about them being too sour then mix them up with some sweeter apples).
As it was early season, we had to spot the dark blackberry jewels in between the unripe red berries. There were plenty enough though and at least we knew we were leaving lots of berries for others to forage in the future. We also didn’t pick from too low (dog pee!) or too high (food for the birds).
The walk takes you under Westfield Pill Bridge.
We did pop down to feed the ducks and swan. However the cob was in protective mode so we didn’t stay long!
As always, they played an imaginative game down by the water.
We spotted some sloe berries.
The kids always think marine waterway lights look like sky decorations!
At one point Caitlyn was in one of those unreasonable, sulky moods but luckily I somehow managed to do the right thing and get her back into a playful, happy girl again. Always a relief when I get it right!
The cows were in the meadow lying fast asleep!
I didn’t manage to capture the action on the water but the girls are watching the fish “go crazy”, they kept coming out and splashing, obviously enjoying food of some sort.
We headed back then as it had taken us ages to walk this far on the walk. When we just walk, we go further, and further again when we come down for a run. It is actually intended as a cycling path and a circular route can be taken.
When we walk there I have to remind the kids to listen and look out for bikes. Rebecca is the one who struggles the most with this, possibly as she is a dreamer like me!
Rebecca scattered seeds.
We went home with our bounty and gave the blackberries a good wash. I wash each one individually, turning them all the way round with an eager eye for bugs or signs of bugs. I then leave them in the fridge and repeat. You can also soak them overnight in salt water. The bugs are the one thing that I hate about blackberries (especially as I am vegetarian!). My kids know all about the bugs inside them but are still willing to pop them straight in their mouth off the brambles! I used to love doing this too when I was younger but could not eat them with out washing them now!
I only made one apple and blackberry mixture but we put half into a crumble and half into mini pies.
We served them with custard and vanilla ice-cream. As expected the kids didn’t like the fruit part. I’m sure that says a lot for my baking that my kids prefer wild blackberries with bugs (protein!) compared to washed and cooked, however, I didn’t like the cooked fruit combination until I was an adult so I can understand it. They loved the crumble, pastry, ice-cream and custard however!
Dave doesn’t like any recipes containing berries so I shared the rest of the apple and blackberry pies with Mum, Jo and Cerys- there was only so much I could eat!
The kids much preferred to eat a pot of fresh berries (washed!) with yogurt and a blackberry smoothy and that was fine with me. I might make jam or gin with the next batch we collect!
This was very much a late summer walk but I imagine on our next blackberry outing we will be fully in Autumn with our winter coats at the ready…this year is flying by!