Project Cooking With Wild Ingredients: Blackberries

It is the end of the summer and that means blackberry season. It depends a bit on the part of the world you are living in but here in Holland the best months are August and September. By this time, the blackberries are juicy, dark and sweet and when they easily come of the plant, you know that they are ripe.

Blackberries are very healthy. They contain a lot of dietary fibers which are good for your digestive system and lowers the risk of heart diseases. They are also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C which decreases the effects of aging and lowers the risk of certain cancers. It is also said that they are good for people who have diabetes.

Next to these healthy benefits, it is also a very tasty fruit. You can eat them straight away as a fruit (wash them first) or you can make delicious desserts, sauces or jam from it. You cannot keep blackberries for too long in the refrigerator so make sure you use them soon after picking or freeze them up.

Picking Blackberries

In Holland, blackberries are quite expensive in the stores so it is excellent if you are able to pick them yourself. And what tastes better than your own handpicked fruit? It brings you closer to nature, to the origin of the food and your own effort pays off directly. Now, when it comes to picking blackberries you have to keep in mind that it is a very thorny plant and that the juice of the blackberries can give stains in your clothes. So be a little bit careful and perhaps it is wise to wear old clothes.

Recently I found a great spot to pick blackberries not far from where I live so I went there with my dad to pick a few ourselves. We ended up with more than 2,5 kg of blackberries in less than an hour. That is worth more than 50 Euros! Of course it was too much to eat all of it just as a fruit but I wanted to use them for two things. To make one of my favorite desserts and to make my own homemade jam. They both worked out perfectly and it was a lot of fun to do. I have had a wonderful dessert and now, I have my own supply of blackberry Jam. Trust me, it feels and tastes a lot better to eat this on your sandwich than the jams from the supermarket. To give you a bit of inspiration, here are the recipes!

Dessert: Marinated Blackberries With Vanilla Mascarpone

Dessert, Marinated Blackberries With Vanilla Mascarpone

Normally, I am not really a dessert kind of guy. I would rather go for a cheese platter or just a strong espresso. With this dessert it is a little different because when I close my eyes and take a bite, I taste a little bit of sunshine. It is delisious! It is very sweet so do not eat to much of it but it is incredibly good and definitely worth the extra calories. Sometimes you need to spoil yourself a bit. I have made it only with blackberries this time but you can use all different kinds of forest fruit like blueberry, raspberry and strawberry.  It is super easy to prepare and here is how to do it.

3 or 4 persons

Ingredients

  • 350g blackberriesMaking Blackberry Dessert
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • The seeds of one vanilla stick and 1 or two tablespoons of sugar
  •  (Instead of the vanilla stick and sugar you can also use about 16 gr of vanilla sugar)

Give the blackberries a good rinse and let them drip in a sieve. Mix the blackberries with 3 tablespoons of sugar and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and put it away for about an hour. When it is time to serve dessert you can mix the mascarpone with the vanilla and sugar and stir it well. Put it on the plates together with the marinated blackberries. If you like you can serve it with some chopped mintleaves as well. It is that simple!

Homemade Blackberry Jam

Homemade Blackberry Jam

There is more than one way to make blackberry jam but I like to keep things simple so I choose the easy way. Just use jelly sugar instead of normal sugar and you do not have to worry about the amount of pectin you need to thicken the jam. You can choose to make your own pectin and it is probably a little healthier because it is more natural but it is also a bit more complicated. I used jelly sugar and it worked perfectly, it tasted great and a lot of vitamins were preserved because I only had to cook it for a short while. This is how I did it.

For about 1,3 liter of jam

Ingredients

  • 1250g blackberriesMaking Blackberry Jam
  • 500g jelly sugar
  • A couple of clean jars preferably washed in the washingmachine

Wash the blackberries and let them drip in a sieve. Than puree the blackberries and put them in a pan. Add the jelly sugar and mix it while you turn on the heat. Let it boil for about one minute. Turn of the heat, divide the hot jam over the jars and close them. Turn the jars upside-down and let them rest like this for 5 minutes. After this you can conserve them for about a year in a cool dark place.

If you have any tips about other recipes with blackberries or things you would like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Project ‘Cooking With Wild Ingredients’ is a part of On My Way To Freedomland as an inspiration to bring us closer to earth again. In order to grow, we first need strong roots. Many aspects of modern society are clouding our relationship with nature and are cutting us from the connection with earth. Without our roots we are floating, lost and stuck with a feeling that we are not in charge of our own lives. It leaves us insecure because we are afraid to fall. But knowing that there is always an earth to rely on can take these fears away and can make you feel safe and confident again. No matter what choice in life you make, there is always an earth to fall back to. Earth is always providing and is just like for plants, it is also the soil for your roots.

Once you feel this relationship again, you will realize that most of your fears are actally based on nothing and you will find more strength to create the life you want. Finding and making your own food, directly from nature can help to restore your relationship with the earth and besides that, food always tastes better if you have picked the ingredients yourself! It is super organic!  

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