The first of the wild blackberries in my immediate area are ready to pick, and over the next few days I plan to make the most of this abundant wild harvest. Over the summer months, there have been plenty of wild foods to harvest. But the autumn is when foraging in my area really takes off, with an abundance of hedgerow berries which supplement the fruits and berries growing in my forest garden.
I do actually also grow thornless blackberries in my forest garden. But the wild fruits are ready a little earlier than these and extend the harvest period. Like wild raspberries, these wild blackberries are one of the most important foraged berries in my area.
I like to eat blackberries for breakfast along with oats and other foraged and cultivated berries. I also use blackberries to make a simple blackberry jam. Sometimes, I will also make a jam with blackberries alongside windfall apples from the forest garden.
Of course, wild blackberries will usually be thorny, so you will have to take care when harvesting. And can easily take over when planted in a garden. So I would recommend foraging for blackberries where these are present in the wild. And if you wish to grow blackberries in your garden, I would certainly recommend that you choose a thornless variety.
As well as harvesting blackberries from hedgerows in my area, and then from my forest garden, I also make use of the thornless blackberry in my forest garden for other additional yields. The young shoots of Rubus fruticosa can be peeled and eaten in salads in spring, and the young leaves can also be used in herbal teas. The stems yield a plant fibre, and can also be chipped and added as mulch in your garden…
But it is at this time of the year that these useful plants really come into their own, providing an abundance of berries which can be used in a range of different ways.