September through to early October is the optimum time for anyone who fancies getting out among the hedgerows and enjoying some quintessential blackberry picking. An activity that the whole family can get involved in, these juicy fruits are literally ready for picking, so make sure you’ve got your little baskets at the ready and get plucking!
Before you head out to harvest these tasty natural treats, we’ve got 11 tips you might want to take on board:
1. If you’re on a family break (UK-based) and you’re about to head out to go picking, ensure you’ve got a pot or basket to carry your harvest in. The last thing you want is to have no storage for the trip back home!
2. Stay alert! blackberries can be found in all kinds of places, so keep your eyes peeled for the sometimes elusive fruit. Much of the time you’ll spot them a mile off, in swathes along the hedgerows, but it can be just as rewarding to find a little pocket of berries tucked away somewhere.
3. Remember not to over-pick. This is important as over harvesting can mean you’re stopping wildlife from accessing essential sustenance. Take what you need, but leave some for others (including the birds).
4. Try to stay away from the berries growing by the side of roads, because even after washing them they won’t be the same as the berries you pick that are located in cleaner environments. After all, you want to eat the best blackberries you can.
5. While we’re on the topic of places to avoid, you don’t want to go picking from too low, because that’s the place that dogs walk/sniff/etc., etc.
6. And avoid picking from too high as these are the ideal berries for the local birds. Stick to the ones you can reach comfortably.
7. Look to pluck the firm, plump looking berries. The already squished blackberries are only going to go bad at a swifter rate which will cause the rest of your harvest to lose their integrity quicker.
8. Stay away from the idea of washing the berries until you’re about to eat or freeze them. If you do you run the risk of them spoiling faster than you’d want.
9. Think about wearing clothing with sleeves as this will prevent you from those pesky thorn scratches.
10. Make sure that you eat or freeze your berries within 24 hours of harvesting or they’ll lose the ripeness.
11. Last, but certainly not least, and it’s bound to happen; if you get blackberry stains on your clothes, apply white vinegar to the stains and allow to settle for half an hour. After this, rinse with cold water and wash as normal. Hey presto, your garments should be back to normal!