things to do with blackberries

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the blackberry bushes in our neck of the wood, plucking the odd berry every day or so, making sure we’re not pipped to the post by a swarm of tupperware wielding bush rustlers. And today – well, in my humble opinion, today is the day that the blackberry harvesting commences. In fact there’s a bountiful little spot just up the lane, where I’ve quite possibly struck blackberry gold. And no, I’m not going to tell you where it is.

I love the concept of blackberry picking, I wrote a blog post about it last year – about how it transcends class, age and location. I love that on September mornings I can swipe one of my five-a-day from the hedgerow on our morning walk. I love that I can stuff my mouth full of quite possibly the freshest and most organic produce in the world for free. And I love that I can turn these little blackberry bad boys into all manner of delicious treats.

I like them straight from the bush whilst strolling through the morning sun, I love them with cream and brown sugar on top of porridge, and of course I love them tucked up with apple under a bed of buttery, sugary crumble.

But this year my friends I found a rather horrible looking bottle of cheap vodka on the shelf and immediately thought of stuffing it with hedgerow fruits to create something rather tasty, just in time for Christmas. A few years ago I made some sloe gin with berries snatched from the lane, so knew I would be able to do something similar with blackberries. And a quick search on the internet came up with the following recipe – which is really handy for quantities and timescales and comes from the brilliant little blog ‘A Thrifty Missus‘.

What you’ll need:
1 sterilised Kilner style jar
500ml of vodka
110g caster sugar
300g blackberries
Directions:
1. Pour the vodka into the jar.
2. Add the berries then the sugar.
3. Give it a swirl with a wooden spoon.
4. Shake the jar until the sugar dissolves, around 5-10 mins
5. Store in a cool dark place and shake once every 3-5 days.

The vodka should be ready to drink (and bottle – strain first) after 6 weeks but I find the taste improves vastly by leaving it until Christmas. Anything up to a year should be fine.

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