Tuesday, 11 August 2009


I picked the first blackberries of the season on Sunday; there is a large patch growing on the south facing bank of an old claypit on the outskirts of town. These are always ready a few weeks before any others growing wild locally and are usually large and sweet - this year is no exception.

Most went straight into the freezer with no preparation, and some to a neighbour, but, with a supply of cooking apples in the house, we had to sample some.

I cooked the blackberries gently with a couple of tablespoons of water, until the juices were flowing. After just a minute or two simmering, I sweetened to taste, then thickened the juices with a little arrowroot. If I had wanted to use the blackberries in a pie or crumble or other cooked dessert, then I wouldn't pre-cook them.

The windfall apples I had been given were not suitable for storage uncooked, so they were peeled cored and sliced and cooked to a thick purée with the minimum amount of added water and sugar to taste. Being cooking apples, they naturally formed a coarse purée as they cooked, so no further work was necessary.

As a mid-week dessert, we can't afford the calories of added pastry or crumble topping, so we ate the cooked fruit simply with Greek yogurt.

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