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Thursday 27 August 2015

Blackberries - How to pick, store and cook them the low carb way


I have to agree with Hannah Williams, when she says, ... Few things sum up British summertime better than a scramble through a blackberry bush clutching an empty tub ready to fill! And, provided you're not trespassing on private property, blackberry picking is a great way of sourcing a cheap summer pud.

Crumbles and pies aside what can you do with the bountiful berry? Here are some top tips for handling all that free fruit...

Choose carefully

Like many things in life, the most successful blackberries will be ones that stand out from the crowd. They should be shiny and firm when you pick them though fruits do seem to vary in flavour from place to place. Seasoned blackberry hunters often have favourite bushes whose harvest they prefer to any neighbouring bush. As you can try before you 'buy' shop around to find what suits you, avoiding bushes by busy roads or fruit low enough to be 'watered' by passing dogs.

When to pick

Blackberries are normally at their best at the end of August to September. Legend has it any picked after the end of this month are best avoided as the devil is said to have peed on them. Not sure this is true but by October the damp weather will have certainly soiled many crops.

Where to pick

Grown in abundance in all manner of hedgerows across the country blackberries are not restricted to rural areas but regularly spotted along canal paths and across wasteland in towns and cities alike.

How to collect

Although it's hard to resist raiding each hedgerow try not to stack loads on top of each other or they'll bruise and squash before you get them home. Use a couple of containers if you want to pick lots of berries though it's always good to leave plenty for other pickers too.


When picking blackberries, or any small fruit, take a large plastic type milk jug with you, it is easier to hold on to the handle than hold a tub, the blackberries fit easily through the top. For children use a small milk jug as it will not weigh as much and it is easier for them to hold onto than a tub. When emptying, have patience as the berries will only come out one at a time, or, carefully cut the top of the jug and tip the berries out.

How to store

Try to keep them dry when storing and they should last for two to three days. If refrigerating let them come to room temperature before eating, as they'll taste much juicier that way. Don't worry if you've picked more than you can handle, blackberries are easily frozen and can be baked straight from the freezer with no need to defrost. Freeze on a tray in a single layer so they don't all squish together or puree them first then freeze the liquid in a bag or ice cube tray.

What to cook

Pies and crumbles are the obvious choice but blackberries also taste delicious served with savoury meats, or on their own with some double cream.

Article from Hannah here 

Looking for a low carb crumble / crisp topping try this ...

First Eliminate Sugar:

You can easily and significantly lower the carbohydrate content of your blackberry, or blueberry, crumble by removing all the sugar it contains. The sugar doesn't play any important role in this recipe, besides providing sweetness. Blackberries (Blueberries) are naturally sweet and do not need extra sugar. You can also make the topping without any added sugar, or you can use a sugar substitute to add a bit of sweetness without all the extra carbohydrates. Sucralose and stevia are good options for baking because they, unlike aspartame, tolerate high temperatures well. Eliminating the sugar alone will save you 38 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

Second Use Almond Meal:

For the topping of your blackberry, or blueberry, crumble you can replace in equal measure the regular all-purpose flour with almond meal. Almond meal can be purchased at many grocery stores in the health food section. Check the expiration date, however, because it can go rancid. To make sure it is fresh and to save money, make it yourself by grinding almonds in a food processor. Each cup of almond meal contains only 9 grams of net carbs, compared to the 95 grams found in regular wheat flour. (Replace the oats with coarsely chopped almonds for extra texture while keeping the carb content low.) These substitutions save you an extra 18 to 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

Low-Carb Blackberry or Blueberry Crumble

Without sugar and flour, your low-carb almond blackberry/blueberry crumble provides only 14 to 19 grams of carbohydrates per serving, a 78 percent decrease compared to the regular high-carb recipe. If you want to keep your carb intake even lower, split your serving with a friend and freeze leftovers for later to prevent temptation. Avoid serving your low-carb dessert with ice cream, since even sugar-free ice cream contains about 15 grams of carbohydrates per 1/2-cup serving. Instead, add creaminess by drizzling double / heavy cream, which does not contain any carbs, over your crumble.

Image result for double cream in jug

Tips for Crumble from Aglaee here 

Will you be blackberry picking soon?

All the best Jan


eileeninmd said...

Hello, the blackberries do look delicious! I wish there were some around here to pick! Great post, thanks for sharing. Enjoy your day!

Martha said...

Wonderful post about one of my favourite berries!

Jo said...

I inherited a blackberry bush on the allotment when we took it on but to be honest, none of us are really keen on them so we haven't bothered to pick them.

Lowcarb team member said...

Happy Thursday Wishes Eileen. Blackberries are such a lovely fruit ... even better if you can 'pick them for free'. But of course not everyone can! Hope you may get the opportunity of eating some soon.

Many thanks for your comment.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Hello there Martha - hope your day is going well.
Blackberries have always been one of my favourite fruits ... growing up we were fortunate to have blackberry bushes at the back of our garden, yummy!

Many thanks for your comment.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Jo, and Happy Thursday to you! Hope the weather is ok where you are ... we have just got cloud today - makes a change from all the rain!
You are fortunate to grow some lovely veggies and fruits, and of course we can't all like everything that grows! Hopefully some of your allotment neighbours can have a picking of your blackberries?

Many thanks for your comment.

All the best Jan

Gail said...

Spring is our time. We do make jellies and wine too but don't think they'll pass the low sugar test.

Have a great day.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hello Gail, thanks for your comment.

Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are a low carbers favourite fruits.
We enjoy them most, when eaten quite simply, with double / heavy cream.

All the best Jan

Anonymous said...

I have happy memories of blackberry picking around the country lanes. A very nice fruit.

Kath ( retired HCP )

NCmountainwoman said...

I remember many a childhood summer day picking blackberries. The heat, the thorns, the stink bugs and the snakes were all forgotten with a taste of that blackberry cobbler. Now I get blackberries the easy way. From a local farmer, already picked and beautiful.

Red Rose Alley said...

oooo, yummy blackberries, Jan. We used to be able to pick them in the fields growing up, and now they are so expensive at the store. There are many recipes to cook with the blackberries, but eating them right from the package is my favorite. :)

Have a good rest of the week.


The Happy Whisk said...

I love berries !!!!

chris c said...

Blackberries spread a lot vegetatively and consist of thousands of different "microspecies" with slightly different characteristics. This year a lot of the earlier ones never set properly and are like bullets, they will probably do well in a year with less of a drought or rain at a different time. Other patches are now well ripe. If you find some that aren't quite all ripe yet, pick off the ripe "king berries" at the tip of the bunch, then come back after a few days and you'll find the rest of the bunch will have ripened.

Just a few tips after fifty years of picking with my mother. Which she probably learned from her mother.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hello Kath, and thanks for your comment.

Glad the post bought back happy memories of blackberry picking. Hope you can enjoy some soon.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

'NC' great to read your comment here, thank you.

Yes, indeed the 'nasties' involved with blackberry picking can all be forgotten when the taste of that lovely fruit hits the mouth! The fruit you get from your local farmer sounds delicious.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Sheri - many thanks for your comment. It is fortunate for those who can self pick and enjoy a 'freebie' but of course many of us do purchase from our local shop / store. I love blackberries with double (heavy) cream ... delicious.

Enjoy the remainder of the week.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi there Ivy - have to agree berries are great !!!

Many thanks for your comment.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Chris - many thanks for the information and great tips. I love it when 'things', ideas, recipes etc are passed down the generations of family ... it is important.
Of course weather affects all aspects of the fruit harvest, taste, size etc. and some years are better than others.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

All the best Jan