The blackberrying season came around this year and although we delayed a bit at the start, we have managed to get a good haul. This year we are freezing the berries in an empty biscuit tin as we gather them. When the tin is full and the time is right (ie: when we remember to buy the sugar), we’ll make bramble jelly.
We’ve been on three walks with intention to pick so far and all have been very successful. The tin is nearly full. We pick our berries on the banks of the River Dodder and sometimes in Bushy Park, where the brambles are both big and bountiful. On the first two expeditions we played safe, with the bushes we could easily reach on the bank or the shingles. On the third trip we aimed higher, with the aid of The Invention.
The Invention was originally Chris’ idea to help with foraging last year. We kept forgetting to make it until a few days ago, but it has now become a vital part of our foraging equipment (together with a bag, box and pair of gardening gloves). The Invention consists of one item only…drumroll, please… A COATHANGER! One wire coat hanger (see Fig. A), for which we owe thanks to the local dry-cleaners, makes the most perfect reaching tool imaginable.
First of all, Chris pulled the hanger so that the hook was at one end and it could be held at the other end (see Fig. B). That worked well until we became tempted by berries that were even higher than our newly extended reach. As an experiment to demonstrate human greed, a blackberrying scenario would surely be perfect. No sooner than new heights have been obtained, even higher ones are sought in the quest for the biggest blackberry!
Which brings me onto the next stage of development for The Invention. The hangers are only made of soft metal and it was easy to untwist the hook and pull the wire right out into a single length, with the hook on the end of this extension. Even more berries were now within our reach, both at the top of bushes and over the edges of parapets, where the bramble clings to the stonework in a huge tangle.
Anyway, with our tin nearly full, we will probably make the jelly in the next few weeks. We still have frozen damsons from last autumn as well and we’re planning to make jumbleberry jam with some reduced price fruit as well, more on that soon!
Have you been foraging for fruit this autumn? Let us know what you’ve made!