Quick Recipes and Easy

Food For Free; The Delights of the Humble Blackberry

I have always loved foraging, and have pleased memories of childhood forays with my mum; finding nut trees, a splendid abandoned apricot tree, a majestic ancient fig tree which produced only a few of the most wonderful enormous figs; the countryside all over the world has plenty of fascinating food on offer . Last weekend I went out with my girls, and we found hoards of blackberries, a mountain of damsons to make jam, unloved lonely plum trees begging to be picked, and a bag of wild hazelnuts. It was a fantastic mixture of fresh air, a excellent walk, fun together, and the wonder and excitement from the children that they could collect all of this food; they were desperate to get home and eat it. We were careful to avoid even the most tempting berries from near roads, and our bounty had the benefit of coming straight from nature; fresh and organic.

Even in the cities, there are abandoned or unkempt areas where the hardy blackberry will flourish, and I will wager that most people will be able to harvest at least a pies-worth! Blackberries are sadly neglected now that we can eat year-round tropical fruits, but they were an vital part of the northern diet since Neolithic times. The blackberry is a excellent source of Vitamin E, Folates, Magnesium, Potassium and Copper, and a very excellent source of Dietary Fiber. It is extremely high in Vitamin C, and also contains Vitamin K and Manganese. Only 10 blackberries will provide 20% of your RDA of vitamin C, and frozen berries will retain much of this vital vitamin for about 6 months. If you like making your own juices and smoothies, a freezer full of blackberries will provide you with weeks of healthy vitamin-packed FREE fruit to add to your juices. I cannot resist an apple and blackberry pie, which I make with wholemeal pastry and hardly any sugar, a scrummy treat with half-stout crème fraiche, and a huge improvement on fatty, sugary, processed supermarket pies. If you want to make your own Christmas presents, now is the perfect time to collect damsons, blackberries and sloes; freeze them overnight, then steep in gin or vodka and a small sugar to make a gorgeous pink sloe gin to give away to friends (or damson vodka, or blackberry and raspberry liqueur!). Seek out fascinating ancient recipes, find out what wild foods are in season, and go out and grab some; it is fun healthy, and fantastic exercise! Why not get out this weekend and see what you can find?

Have fun fellow-foragers, but avoid anything from near a road, and EVERYTHING which you do not recognize!

Vikki Scovell BA(hons) PG DIP is a fully qualified Personal Trainer and Fitness Coach. She is a qualified Nutrition Adviser and runs successful Community Exercise classes. Vikki is a consultant in Healthy Eating and Exercise initiatives to schools in the independent sector and publishes School and General Healthy Living newsletters. Vikki lives in Bristol in the U.K. with her partner Jeremy and two young children. Enquiries for nutritional advice, personal training, corporate wellness and general enquiries.

If you wish to receive Vikki’s free newsletter please visit getfitter.net/ getfitter.net/

Tags: simply recipes, source online, Flavors, low stout recipes, my recipes, today show, everyday food recipes, Health Benefits, heart disease, food

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