All of last week whilst walking the dog the children and I have been noticing the blackberries ripen on the brambles near to our house.
This morning Alice and I took the opportunity of an overcast morning to get out the house and get foraging.
We are lucky enough to live within only a few minutes walk of the countryside and the lane near our house has several great brambles for picking.
We spent a great hour chatting and picking berries, and I can't wait to include Alice in my Jam making this year with the berries we've both gathered.
Blackberry picking is a great way to get kids out the house and having fun whilst also learning some great time skills.
We made a list of 10 great tips for blackberry picking to help you get started.
1. Make sure you're wearing trousers and kids have a long sleeve top on. This way your less likely to get stung or scratched while gathering your barries.
2. Dont pick berries that are near to the ground as these berries could have been soiled by dogs, foxes etc. Also avoid berries growing by the roadside as these will have been exposed to exhaust fumes and may be in unsafe locations.
3. Try not to pick berries that are very soft. These are usually overripe and will get squashed easily.
4. A great container for blackberry picking is a washed out plastic milk bottle with the top cut away. These have nice handles for children to hold and even re-using plastics once has a positive effect on the environment.
5. Blackberring can be an impromptu activity so try to keep a plastic carrier bag in your handbag or jacket pocket incase you come across a good bramble while out and about!
6. Make sure to leave unripe berries on the bush (these are the red or red/back berries that are smaller and firmer) these are far to sour and unpleasent to eat.
7. Never pick a bramble bare, blackberrying is a fun free activity so make sure to leave enough berries for everyone to enjoy.
8. Blackberries shouldn't be eaten straight from the bush however tempting, so make sure to take them home and give them a wash first.
9. A great way to wash blackberries to be sure of no nasties is to place them in a vinegar baths, thats 1/4 vinegar to 3/4 cold water. Let them sit for an hour and the place in a colander. Rinse with cold water and then leave them to dry before storing.
10. Plan ahead and start looking for blackberry bushes in the spring. They are easily recognisable by the thorny brambles they grow on. Bramble with plenty of white or pinkish flowers growing where you can reach will be perfect come autumn.