The blackberries are in season! The hot days of summer have ripened these hedgerow fruits. They are plump and juicy, glistening by the paths and walkways, just waiting to be collected and eaten.
Pumpjack’s thrice daily (or more if Chewie has his way) dog walks gives me an early warning system that the blackberries are ready. With baskets to hand, we wander out to collect as much a we can.
There is something immensely satisfying about a full basket of blackberries, and dreams of what they can become. We planned muffins, cakes, crumbles, smoothies and ice cream. But, in the end, simply some cream and a wonderfully large bowl each gave us our first taste of the height of summer as we sat in the garden enjoying the late afternoon sun.
As they days build in summer heat, early mornings are the time to go picking. This morning I discovered a whole bush of them in our hedge. Laden down with big juicy blackberries.
Our hedge has various blackberry brambles dotted amongst it. To Pumpjack it is a weed needing to be eradicated. To me, I hope in the ensuing years I can find a way to train some of the brambles to keep producing regular and easy to reach fruit. Now I just have to work out how to get it out of the hedge.
What will I make with this mornings haul? The thought of blackberry coconut ice cream has my taste buds tingling. I love making ice cream with coconut milk. It just adds an extra yummy flavour. And, I can make it without an ice cream maker. It is very easy to do.
Ingredients: 1 tin/can coconut milk, 2 cups/500 ml fresh blackberries, juice of 1/2 a lemon, and 1/4 – 1/2 cup/50 – 100 ml sweetner of your choice. I recommend maple or agave syrup, but you can use what you like or have to hand. Quantity depends on how sweet you like your ice cream.
To make: Whizz all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. If you like fairly smooth ice cream, eg not lots of fruit bits, whizz until smooth. Pour it into a freezable container. Freeze for 1 hour. Take out and stir. Repeat until you get a nice thick consistency. Then eat.
This can also be done using an ice cream maker, if you have one. It will give you a creamier texture, less sorbet like, but both taste absolutely delicious.
(And note, this recipe is vegan, should you ever have to feed a vegan or vegetarian.)
If you are like us, we always collect way more blackberries than we can eat. (Honest, it does happen.) Don’t be frightened of freezing any excess. Lay your fruit as a single layer on a tray. I use an old pizza box, lined with cling film. Put it in the freezer for an hour. After the hour you can pour into a bag or container for easier storage. By fast freezing first on a tray it stops your fruit from clumping together into a solid frozen lump.
If you like blackberry picking and foraging (or the idea of foraging), do read our (8 reasons why you should try) Foraging post.