Brilliant New Ways To Cook With Blackberries | sheerluxe.com
While we’ve enjoyed a bumper year for raspberries and strawberries, there is one more berry twinkling across British hedgerows. The blackberry. In September, the brambles showing off their shiny black bloated fruits are worth celebrating. If you’re a blackberry picking virgin, be sure to pluck from the hedgerow above dog level (in case a mutt pees on the lower bush). Otherwise, there are delectable supermarket options. Blackberries aren’t utilised enough in cooking. While it’s great for jam, it comes to life in so many other guises, from pickling to salads. If you’re stuck for ideas, here are some to inspire you…
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Pickled Blackberries

Not only is pickling a delicious way of suspending the season but it makes the fruit a pleasure for savoury concoctions. Eat the following pickled blackberries with cheese (cheese and blackberry pickle on toast is a gem), serve with game, or sprinkle them into salads with walnuts, apple slices, finely chopped shallot and crisp leaves and fresh herbs. With a distinctive tartness, this pickle also cuts through spicy dishes adeptly.

To make the pickling vinegar: In a saucepan, simmer the following ratio (multiply by five if you want large quantities): 150ml cider or white wine vinegar to 20g sugar to 1tsp salt. For added spice, add 1tsp fennel seeds, coriander seeds or chopped ginger.  Wash the blackberries and dry. Sterilise your jar, then pack the blackberries in and pour over the cooled pickling juice. Make sure the fruit is submerged. Screw the top on tightly, then leave for a week, or longer.

Peach & Blackberry Salad

Peach, blackberry, and walnuts make a handsome mix. In a jar, shake together 100ml olive oil, 2tsp cider or white wine vinegar, 1tsp honey, 1 crushed garlic clove. Season. Arrange a plate with salad leaves of your choice. Lay over the peaches, sliced in eighths, discarding the stones (you could substitute with nectarines), then add a smattering of blackberries. Pour over a little or all of the salad dressing, according to your taste. Now drop in the walnuts. For an extra spin, you can toast them in a saucepan with a speck of olive oil, some spices (a pinch of fennel seeds or cinnamon would be good in this instance) and salt. Scatter the nuts over with some blue cheese in tow. Eat pronto.

Homemade Muesli

Quick and effortless, what’s not to love about this scratch-made muesli? Measure out two bowls of oats and pour them in a pan. Place on the hob on low heat. Add components of your choice - my assortment is pretty laissez-faire, depending on what’s in the cupboard. Pumpkins, walnuts, pecans, cashews, coconut shavings, banana chips are all game pickings. Measure in 2tsp ground cinnamon. Toast for a few minutes. When cool, mix this nutty party with 200g Greek yoghurt. To finish, add 1 handful of blackberries. If you’re a sugar fiend, feel free to incorporate 1tsp Demerara sugar, chopped dates or apricots.

Spiced Blackberry Salmon

Salmon is one of my favourite fish. Yielding, creamy and versatile. Its health credentials are as impressive, stuffed with brain-boosting omega 3, vitamin B12, fatty acids. For a sustainable alternative, rainbow trout is nearly as terrific and has a third of the fat.

Grind 1tsp cumin, ½ tsp coriander, sprinkle in 2tsp coriander. Grate 1 lime’s zest. Simmer 100g blackberries with the spices and 1/2tsp sugar and ½ tsp salt. When reduced include the lime zest. Coat the salmon or trout fillets with the above. Marinate them if you have the time; don’t worry if not.  Bake for 10 minutes until the fish is flakey, but not over cooked. Serve with basmati rice or couscous.

Quick Blackberry & Parsley Bulgur Wheat

This is the sunniest meal, a riot of colour with the last of the summer flavours.

In a bowl, mix a finely sliced red shallot with chopped blackberries, adding a little salt and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. If you’re using the lemon, try finely grating the zest in. Then, finely chop parsley, tomatoes, and a fennel bulb. While doing so, simmer the bulgur wheat in water or a stock. When it’s cooked, drain it. To finish, stir in the blackberry salad.  Finely chop goat’s cheese in slices and scatter in. If you want a nut element, it’s divine with hazelnuts (bashed first in a pestle and mortar) stirred in. Season with salt and pepper. Taste. Serve.

Nippy Blackberry Tart With Cardamom Cream

Of course crumble is fabulous with blackberries. But if you want a seriously brisk pudding, roll out shop bought (ideally “all butter”) puff pastry into a neat long rectangle. Place it on a tray. Spread a layer of berry jam across the pastry base, carpet with slivers of apple next, then the blackberries. Sprinkle with sugar, you want a sweet-tart filling. Bake in the oven for approximately 180c for 30 minutes. Slice and serve immediately with double cream. If you’ve cardamom or vanilla pods in the store cupboard, experiment with crushing the pods and removing the little black seeds to stir into the cream.
 

Chloe Scott-Moncrieff is a food columnist & co-founder of the Young British Foodie awards. Follow her @chloescottmoncrieff

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