What to eat in September: Blackberries!

What to eat in September... Blackberries!

From foraging to storing to eating, September for us is all about the blackberries!

Packed with fibre and antioxidants including Vitamin C, blackberries are in season from August to October.

Think before you buy…

Blackberries are not only likely to be expensive in supermarkets but many have been imported from outside the UK. Often they’re flown from countries that don’t have a cold enough climate to help the flower buds develop to then produce the fruit. As a result, producers are forced to use chemicals on the plants to ensure a good harvest (Grow your own Veg & Fruit Bible, Carol Klein).

So, growing your own without using chemicals or picking your own wild blackberries can be much healthier for you and the planet!

Foraging…

Speaking of picking your own, wild blackberries grow on bramble shrubs almost anywhere across the UK and it’s easier to forage these fruits than you might think!

Now is the time to take a container out with you on a hunt for brambles nearby. You’re looking for hedges on public footpaths, canalside paths or in wooded areas; it’s best to avoid roadsides or more polluted spots (Eat Blackberries, Eat the Seasons).

Remember, never eat anything you’re not 100% certain of what the plant is when foraging, click here for more important information on foraging.

Berry Stained Hands!

When growing these berries are red coloured like raspberries, it’s only when they’ve turned a dark purple when they’re ready to be picked and eaten! (What’s in season: Blackberries, Diabetes UK) Opt for fruit hanging above your hips so you avoid any that have been in reach of passing dogs…

And just think, just x10 wild blackberries can count towards 1 of your 5 A Day! (Top 5 health benefits of blackberries, BBC Good Food)

Storing…

Store them in the fridge and they should last for a few days. Alternatively, you can freeze them in a single layer in your freezer, or make a purée with them then freeze in a bag or icecube tray (How to pick and cook blackberries, BBC Good Food).

Eating…

You might be bored of blackberry jam, sick of blackberry crumble or maybe you’ve never eaten blackberries!

Either way, how does a delicious blackberry smoothie sound?

We’ve included the winning recipe below from our ‘Smoothie Dragons Den’ competition at one of our recent Healthy Holidays workshops, held at the Old Fire Station in Leeds.

We loved it so much that we went on to use it at a later workshop in a park with St Vincents! We’ve also included the runner up smoothie recipe. Let us know which you prefer…


The Magic Purple Smoothie

(Makes 3-4 portions)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • ½ banana
  • 2.5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 dates
  • Small handful of mint leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons coconut yoghurt

Equipment:

  • Tea spoon
  • Table spoon
  • Small Mixing bowl or large jug
  • Stick blender
Team 1 “4 little Smoothies”
Method:

1. If using fresh fruit then wash the berries and currants and pick off any leaves. Chop large strawberries in half.

2. Finely chop mint if you are using any.

3. De-stone and chop the dates.

4. Place the fruit and mint in the mixing bowl or jug.

5. Add the yoghurt, banana and water. 

6. Use a stick blender to blend the mix until it is smooth.

7. Pour into a glass to serve and top with a mint sprig.


Smoothie Explosion

(Makes 3-4 portions)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup blue berries
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 dates
  • 1 sprig of mint leaves
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 cup coconut yoghurt
  • Teaspoon of honey

Equipment:

  • Tea spoon
  • Table spoon
  • Small Mixing bowl  or large jug
  • Stick blender
Team 2- “Smoothie Explosion”
Method:

1. If using fresh fruit then wash the berries and pick off any leaves. Chop large strawberries in half.

2. Grate the carrot and chop the mint.

3. De-stone and chop the dates.

4. Squeeze the oranges.

5. Place the ingredients in the jug or Nutribullet.

6. Add the orange juice and yoghurt.

7. Use the blender to blend the mix until it is smooth. Then add the water to get the consistency you want and blitz again with the blender.

8. Pour into a glass to serve.


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