When I was younger I’m (almost certainly) sure that blackberries were only ready during the Autumn time once we had returned to school. I remember (not so patiently) waiting for them to be ready to pick but nowadays I always spot lots of juicy black berries in the summer before I’m even ready to embrace autumn and pick them. Now the kids are back in school I’m making an effort to make sure that all our precious free family evening time is spent wisely so one of our after school activities last week was blackberry picking (and scooting). Read on to see our black berry picking walk and how we cooked our (vegan) apple and blackberry crumble.
There are endless blackberry picking routes to choose from (Neyland is one of our favourite blackberry picking walks) but on this occasion we decided to scoot down Milford Marina (Sat Nav Postcode: SA73 3AF) so we could meet Dave after work. There is lots of free parking down the docks so you can park up and begin your walk.
We parked in the car park behind The Harbourmaster Pub (SA73 3AZ) and from here you can see the pathway that leads you on the “lower Rath” walkway.
This year we spotted a lot more spiders in webs next to the blackberries so we had to pick carefully so as to not disturb the webs.
This walk perfectly combines woodland and sea views.
As well as the ripe blackberries there were plenty of immature red blackberries that will be ready for future foragers to pick in the next few weeks (blackberries are red when they’re green).
As always we went for the mid to high height blackberries (we’re only short)- leave the high out of reach blackberries for the birds and avoid the low blackberries (due to dogs!). This route is away from a road so there is no worry about car fumes.
Scroll on to see our photos:
We also found lots of “helicopters” from sycamore trees.
We went as far as where the path meets The Rath. At this point one of the girls needed the loo and conveniently there are toilets on the Rath so we popped to use these. We also sat and rested in the sun and and made wishes on dandelion clocks.
It was then time to scooter and walk back, this time facing the evening sun.
We made our way back to the car with our bounty of blackberries. We only took a small container full for our crumble. There are lots left for others to pick and plenty of high crops left for the wildlife.
Back at home we rinsed our blackberries and washed some cooking apples ready to make a crumble.
Recipes such as crumble are so easy to “veganise”, we just swap dairy butter for a vegan/dairy free margarine. I also used a vegan ready made custard but actually Bird’s Eye Custard Powder (yum) is also vegan (it only contains Maize Starch, Salt, Flavouring and Colour Annatto) as long as you mix with a vegan milk.
There are no recipes for household favourites like Blackberry Crumble – just passed down instructions and rituals remembered, ingrained from childhood. Caramelise the margarine with demerara sugar, add the apple then the blackberries. Season with cinnamon.
Combine flour and sugar, rub in the room temperature (vegan) margarine until it resembles breadcrumbs. Shake the bowl occasionally to make the unrubbed margarine come to the surface, then rub this in. Usually, I pour the fruit mixture into the bowl, spoon over the crumble mixture and bake. I’d read a tip recently to pre bake the crumble mixture first, however mine set quickly and thus was hard to spread over the caramelised apple and blackberry compote. Therefore, I’ll stick to my traditional method from now on.
Apple crumble and custard! Using a ready made custard I noticed it was thinner than if I’d mixed it myself but the Apple and Blackberry Crumble with Custard (all vegan) concoction was still delicious (to me anyway, I still can’t convince my kids on the virtues of fruit crumble or pie and I was reluctant myself as a child too so it may be a family trait!
However I’ve definitely matured enough to enjoy the merits of fruit crumble. Have you been blackberry picking this year?
What did you make with your harvest?
Watch our video below: