Foraging is a wonderful way to enjoy the countryside and to get the family out and about. Collecting nature’s berries is a fun, free activity with a delicious reward.
September is the perfect time to harvest blackberries. They can pop up in many places. Sometimes there will be a few, sometimes hundreds. Finding them is part of the fun!
The whole family will love collecting blackberries! Have a competition to see who can pick the most or who can stay the cleanest. This is easier said than done and after a short time everyone’s hands will be purple.
Use your freshly picked blackberries to make delicious Blackberry Jam or add them to brandy for a tasty tipple. You can also use them in puddings, crumbles, cakes, cordials, vinegars and liqueurs. We have a great recipe for Blackberry Crumble with Honey Custard in our Recipe Section.
Sloe berries are also good to harvest in September. The end of this month until December is thought to be the best time. It is said that you should wait until after the first frost to pick sloes as the frost pierces their skin and releases their juice. Unfortunately, if you waited they would have probably all been collected or eaten by the birds. If you put your sloe berries in a bag and pop them in the freezer overnight you can achieve the same effect. Just make sure the berries are ripe before you pick them. If you can easily pop the berries between your thumb and finger they are ready.
Sloe berries are great for making sloe gin and vodka. They can also be used in jellies and sauces. We have a recipe for Sloe Gin in our Recipe Section as well as a range of jars, bottles and funnels in our shops.
Take a suitable container to collect the berries.
Wear long sleeves to protect yourself from the thorns.
Don’t pick wet berries as they will rotten quicker. Also, don’t wash the berries until you are ready to use them for the same reason.
If you are not certain that you have identified the fruit correctly don’t pick it and definitely don’t eat it!
Only take as many as you need. Then there will be some left for other people. #lovefoodhatewaste
If you think that foraging is not for you, don’t worry. You can still enjoy Whittaker’s Clearly Sloe Gin. The sloe’s are soaked in Whittaker’s Original Gin for a minimum of six months. They are then laced with liquorice for 24 hours before distillation. Delicious!