Five top tips for berry picking
Blackberry season is upon us, and what better way to celebrate the end of the summer than by foraging for some treats? Here are five tips to help you berry pick like a professional.
1. Bring your own container. Whether this is a planned berry-picking trip to a farm, or an impromptu forage on the way home, make sure you have something to take your treasures home in. An old milk carton is easy to carry, and the screw top will stop any juice leaking out.
2. Choose your spot. If you’re out in the countryside looking for wild berries, make sure you pick only the best fruit. Avoid bushes by busy roads, as the exhaust fumes can get into the fruit, and don’t pick the berries that are low down – the dogs and foxes could have peed on them.
3. Be ready for the weather. If it’s a hot late summer day, make sure you’re armed with sun cream, a hat and some water. If it looks like rain, bring a waterproof coat. And don’t forget that berry juice can stain, so make sure you’re wearing old clothes.
4. Watch out for stinging nettles. Protect yourself by wearing long sleeves and avoiding areas with lots of nettles. If you do get stung, rinse the sting in lots of cold water and avoid rubbing or scratching it: the nettle’s venom can stay on your skin for several hours, and you can spread it around if you don’t wash it off.
5. Learn some recipes. When you’ve brought your berries home, make sure you do something delicious with them. Getting young people involved with the food they eat, where it comes from, and how to cook it, can encourage them to enjoy eating fruit more. Blackberry and apple crumble is a lovely autumnal dish, and raspberry Eton mess is a British classic. Or, if you just want to eat them as they are, strawberries are a great source of vitamin C as well as being delicious!