We have a large fruit cage in our field where we grow raspberries and blackberries. I appreciate it’s not pretty, but who needs pretty when we really need fruit.
It’s very productive with early golden raspberries, late red raspberries and right in the middle of the summer we have lots of glorious blackberries.
We grow a thornless variety because a lot of the fruit is lost inside interwoven vines and thick foliage. I love blackberries but I don’t love them enough to scratch my arms to ribbons.
OK, so that might make me less of a hardcore gardener but I prefer my fruit without injury or tasting faintly of blood…
We eat a lot of the fruit fresh as soon as it’s picked or make up crumbles, pies and even summer pudding. We still have far more than we can immediately eat so we preserve them. We’ve found that the variety of blackberries we have don’t dehydrate well so freezing is the most efficient method of preserving them.
It’s a 2 stage process. First I freeze them flat on trays so they don’t stick together in one massive blackberry clump.
Then we use our Foodsaver vacuum packer to remove the air from around the berries. This means that the risk of freezer burn is removed and the fruit can last longer in it’s frozen state.
Our fruit and vegetable freezer is getting very full with only a small amount of space. I would be completely lost without the stackable baskets I use in the chest freezer. I do remember the days before I had the baskets and I lost so many fantastic meals and ingredients in the bottom of this freezer. Now I can locate the blackberries as well as everything else!
One of the wonderful things that Hugh has found to make with blackberries is blackberry wine….oooo, blackberry wine!
This year he’s gone a step further and he’s made blackberry port and it’s delicious. If you’d like to see how he did it, click on the YouTube link to see our video.