Wednesday, 3 October 2012

There's No Fool Like a Blackberry Fool

Blackberries are not camera-shy shrinking violets. They snare you into photographing them by being beautiful, or by surprising you when you least expect to see them, or by popping up in the most unlikely places. This is why I have a camera full of blackberry snaps (which sound more like culinary delights than a worryingly extensive collection of mediocre photographs).



These blackberries were growing on wasteland in Italy in early September. While I adore our British hedgerows, I would not turn my nose up at an occasional bunch of succulent grapes nestling among the brambles. 


There is something romantic about brambling. Perhaps it is the notion that generations of country folk have foraged for hedgerow fruit; their hands, faces and clothes stained with blackberry juice. The same cannot be said for all the food we harvest. Try as I might, I am incapable of getting all romantic at the prospect of pulling up turnips.


I don't know if previous generations discovered the protective powers of the dressing gown. Our daughter insists that it is the best garment for brambling. She claims that it reduces the impact of thorns, although some of you might rightly suspect that she is simply a staunch supporter of pyjama days. 


Of course, the juiciest berries are always out of reach and so they should be. I like to think of brambling as a fair exchange with the creatures who enjoy our cultivated fruits. We may be taking some of their berries, but we will leave the best pickings for them, not least because even a dressing gown will not protect our arms if we are foolish enough to scale the hedgerow for those tempting, unreachable fruits. 


As for the fool. Well, we just put the blackberries with a couple of tablespoons of sugar in a pan on a low heat for ten minutes, then mash them and leave them to cool. Then we mix them with lightly whipped cream and chill this delightful mixture for about thirty minutes before we remove it from the fridge.  After a few minutes at room temperature, a blackberry fool should look like this...





49 comments:

  1. You are right about blackberries being eminently photographable especially when the bushes are dripping with fruit. I made a blackberry and apple crumble at the weekend - the beloved said he didn't like all the seeds and left it - guess who finished it off!

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    1. In which case you should keep those seeds in every time!

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  2. Your daughter is quite right about pyjamas and dressing gowns... most jobs are better done wearing them :-)
    I love the fact that your camera is full of blackberry snaps and your blackberry fool picture made me laugh!!

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    1. You would think that about pyjamas!!! Although I must confess to being happier now that we have darker mornings, as I can walk the dog in my pyjamas without the fear of shocking the neighbours.

      (That is me in my pyjamas - not the dog, who is shorter in the leg and in any case, doesn't like my taste in pyjamas).

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  3. LOL! That photo "fooled" us all! I was really expecting to see the results! :D

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    1. Perhaps I shouldn't be airing my dirty washing up in public ;-)

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  4. MMMMMMMMM, that looked delicious, thanks for the nice comment on my post.

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    1. My pleasure - and thank you for commenting here.

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  5. Your daughter is a genius! I completely agree that a dressing gown is perfect black berry protection. :o) I make a dessert similar to yours called a crisp. It lasts about as long, too. Yum!

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    1. Our daughter is thrilled that she has been classed as a genius.... this could prove problematic for her non-pyjama brambling, non-genius parents!

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  6. Your 'blackberry fool' anecdote is hilarious and quite make a fool of all of us. Your daughter is the smart and pragmatic one and no fool at all.

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    1. My daughter is also delighted with this comment!

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  7. Delish. They look like little jewels in your top photo.

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    1. They are such beautiful berries, aren't they?

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  8. Those blackberries look delicious! I feel like a blackberry fool now ... LOL. I enjoyed your lovely post and images. All the best. :-)

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  9. The richness and ripeness of autumn! I can feel the sweet lusciousness of the black berries from the photos.

    Yoko

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    1. I love autumn.... it has to be my favourite season.

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  10. Mouth watering, oh such a delish treat.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. It's the time of year for great puddings!

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  11. Hahaha.... I love the look of the empty bowl!!!

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  12. I enjoy reading your posts so much.. if Im not laughing loudly Im at least getting a good chuckle! Thank you so much for sharing in such wonderfully writen ways. I've only just found your post when you found mine...Mermaid-at-frog-hollow.... so, I will be catching up reading all your back posts over the winter... I look forward to following your blog.

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    1. Thank you Kate, what a lovely comment. I look forward to following your blog too.

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  13. Ooh, scrumptious! I've never had fool before - it sounds so easy and yummy. What a great idea your daughter had about blackberry picking attire!

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    1. You haven't lived! Make some immediately - and for a touch of extra naughtiness, serve with shortbread biscuits!

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  14. They look so lovely, especially in the top photo, i agree they look like little jewels.

    Yummy, I love autumn!

    Gaz: Alternative Eden

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    1. Welcome Gaz - thank you for leaving a comment. I love autumn too!

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  15. YOU made me smile out loud...great last photo!! Thanks for following my blog.

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    1. Thank you.... and thanks for following my blog!

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  16. hi GS, love your blog. This witty and funny post made me feel quite nostalgic for my childhood when we did pick blackberries. But they are a terrible noxious weed here, and any you find in the wild are likely to be sprayed and poisonous to eat and definitely not romantic or photographable. btw, I would never get to the fool stage, they would all be eaten and mouths and hands all stained purple. Makes me wonder whether your daughter's pyjama pants started out that colour?

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    1. Thank you Catmint - that's very kind of you.

      Your comment about our daughter's pyjamas made me laugh.

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  17. A blackberry bush was growing in my neighbour's garden, and fruiting in my garden. I picked as many fruits as I could reach, leaving the rest for the birds. But my neighbour then tidied their garden and cut down the bush before the birds could have their feast.

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    1. What a shame. I am a strong believer that tidiness is not a virtue - especially when it concerns those plants which can provide food and shelter for wildlife.

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  18. We have our own plot bramble hedge so have a ready supply. A recent investment was a thornless variety which is full of promise and less painful to harvest

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    1. I love the idea of a bramble hedge. Some of the thornless varieties are quite handsome plants - I'll be interested to hear about the yields from your thornless blackberry.

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    2. It's early days yet as the plant is very young but I'll definitely report on this once it gets growing. I understand that I need to cut our any canes that develop thorns as it can revert.

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  19. Your recipe sounds wonderful! Blackberries are inherently romantic. I have memories as a child of picking the wild ones that grew near our house, but there were never enough. They were quickly gobbled up and never made it into any recipe.

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    1. I know what you mean. I just wish I could salvage enough for the freezer... those winter blackberry and apple crumbles will be lacking a vital ingredient!

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  20. We do not have blackberries, but I'm thinking I must cook raspberries and mix with whipping cream. Thank you for a delightful post!

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    1. Thank you - and welcome! I think you might get to eat a raspberry fool sooner than a blackberry one - I just crush raspberries lightly with a fork so that they aren't mushy, but they release a little juice and colour, then stir them into the cream... I don't bother to cook them. If they are not sweet enough, I just add a little icing sugar to taste. Now I need to add autumn-fruiting raspberries to my winter planting list!

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  21. That blackberry fool look delicious! Haha! You make an excellent point: picking blackberries is way more romantic than pulling turnips. I think your daughter is very clever. A dressing gown is quite possibly the best garment for brambling!

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    1. I am thinking of nicking our daughter's idea and designing a range of brambling dressing gowns for the Autumn/Winter 2013 season!

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  22. These Blackberries look and taste delicious. To this day here in Aberdeen we still call them brambles, I wonder if that is just a local thing.

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    1. I think I prefer brambles! We tend to interchange the two.... bramble jelly.... apple and blackberry crumble.

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  23. Oh my goodness. I used to live in Putney and i was always out in the early autumn mornings picking blackberries. Of course they would taste much better in the country I expect. That reminds me I have to post about my mulberry pickings. Thanks for popping by my blog I shall sign up to you to see what is going on in Norfolk (where my mum-in-law lives)

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  24. This takes me back to going blackberrying along the canals when I was a child living in the UK. Then making the blackberry and apple jam. Happy memories.

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