Eden’s foraging expert Emma Gunn shares an easy blackberry brandy recipe for the autumn – part of our Harvest Festival season.
This blackberry brandy is delicious drunk neat, made into a long drink with soda water or lemonade – or poured over a dessert like ice cream or sponge pudding. Mmm…
Ingredients and equipment
- 1 x 750ml bottle of brandy
- 4 cups blackberries
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 large, sterilised Kilner jar or sweet jar
- Put all of the ingredients in the jar and shake well.
- Put in a cool dark place for at least two months, shaking occasionally. The longer you leave it the better it gets!
Tips on blackberry picking
When to pick: You can usually pick blackberries from August to November, with the best picking in September and October.
Where to pick: It’s best to pick from hedgerows away from roads, where fruit can be polluted. Don’t pick from too low down, where dogs may have been. Make sure you simply take the ripe fruit and don’t actually cut the plants. Take care not to rip your clothes or scratch yourself on the thorns!
What to take: Take a handful of containers so that each person can have their own pot. Old margarine tubs work better than plastic bags, which might squash the blackberries.
How to prepare the blackberries: Blackberries don’t last more than a day or so in the fridge. Then, on the day you want to use them, give them a good clean by submerging them in a bowl of water for 10 minutes or so, so that any bugs float to the surface. Then drain them through a colander or a sieve.
How to sterilise jars
Choose from several different ways to sterilise jars (don’t forget to remove the rubber seal first):
In a dishwasher: Run the jars through a short cycle in a dishwasher
In a microwave: Clean the jars, then microwave them (while still wet) for 1 minute.
On a hob: Place the jars in a large pan of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don’t touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes.
In an oven: Rinse the jars, dry them, and place them on racks, without lids and without them touching each other, in an oven (350°F/180°C/Gas 4) for 20 minutes.