Blackberry picking in Suffolk & Cambs (and the best crumble recipe ever)
Strawberry picking’s so last month, September’s all about the blackberries so here’s the lowdown on the best places to forage the fruit (but remember to only take what you need, yeah?)
Grab your basket because the hedgerows here tend to be laden with blackberries. Right by the coast, it’s a wild, wind-swept landscape with rare birds to spot and there’s a tea room and visitor centre too, which even sells blackberry buckets for transporting your goodies home.
Set in more than 300 acres west of Cambridge, there’s a bounty of berries in the hedgerows here. Follow the paths up to Red Meadow Hill and you might be rewarded with a bite to eat and great views.
The hedgerows around this beautiful spot are ripe for foraging, so plan a trip to Dedham Vale pronto. Strolling through the landscape that Constable painted is cultural too – start at Flatford Mill and Willy Lott’s House, setting of the artist’s famous Hay Wain painting, then meander to Dedham picking berries along the way.
Don’t want the hassle of foraging? Head to High House near Woodbridge, which has a farm shop with punnets to purchase or a pick-your-own option.
Make a day of it at this stunning island nature reserve off the Suffolk coast – a great place for blackberries in season. You can’t just rock up with the kids though, so you’ll need to book a place before visiting through the National Trust. Ferrries leave from Orford Quay and remember to leave some berries for the wildlife!
It’s might be in the city and best known for footie pitches and Cambridge Folk Festival camping, but this 40 hectares of land actually has some decent foraging opps in its woods, scrub and grassland. Head to the wilder eastern part for the best pickings.
The best crumble recipe ever
Through trial and a lot of error, I’ve discovered the best crumble recipe ever. I’ve tried so many different recipes over the years (crunchy toppings kids hate, gooey crumbles adults don’t like) but this is the one all ages seem to love: Raymond Blanc’s classic apple and blackberry crumble.
For the crumble topping
- 120g plain flour
- 60g caster sugar
- 60g unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
For the fruit compote
- 300g Braeburn apple
- 30g unsalted butter
- 30g demerara sugar
- 115g blackberries
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- vanilla ice cream, to serve
- STEP 1 Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Tip 120g plain flour and 60g caster sugar into a large bowl.
- STEP 2 Add 60g unsalted butter, then rub into the flour using your fingertips to make a light breadcrumb texture. Do not overwork it or the crumble will become heavy.
- STEP 3 Sprinkle the mixture evenly over a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins or until lightly coloured.
- STEP 4 Meanwhile, for the compote, peel, core and cut 300g Braeburn apples into 2cm dice.
- STEP 5 Put 30g unsalted butter and 30g demerara sugar in a medium saucepan and melt together over a medium heat. Cook for 3 mins until the mixture turns to a light caramel.
- STEP 6 Stir in the apples and cook for 3 mins. Add 115g blackberries and ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, and cook for 3 mins more.
- STEP 7 Cover, remove from the heat, then leave for 2-3 mins to continue cooking in the warmth of the pan.
- STEP 8 To serve, spoon the warm fruit into an ovenproof gratin dish, top with the crumble mix, then reheat in the oven for 5-10 mins. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
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