THE BLACKBERRY season is underway, summer is drawing to a close, and we find ourselves knocking on the door of autumn.

It’s a great excuse to go for a walk and forage for blackberries regardless of whether you want to eat as you pick, make a sumptuous pie or crumble, or simply top your morning yogurt with berries.

Today youngsters think phone before blackberry.

So blackberrying is a great opportunity for them to connect to dirty soil and the environment, because blackberries are so good for you, they are one of the ‘’super foods’’ that we are encouraged to eat being packed full of goodness.

The most important health benefit of blackberries is that they do not kill you, which is more than you can say for mushrooms.

To be fair, the blackberry season is short - cover your ears Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, it’s nice we can get unseasonable produce from aboard because in a natural British midwinter we would soon be down to spuds and turnips and buried kegs of lard.

Yes, it’s outrageous supermarkets selling berries in picking season and doubly outrageous we buy them - I do believe we ought to print on the receipts when the season arrives: ‘’paid for blackberries? you’ve been mugged squire!’’.

The proof of the pudding is that blackberries are best accompanied by apples to make a good crumble with lashings of custard.

But be warned, unless you have the freezer space of a serial killer you will not be able to keep fresh the huge quantity that you can collect in a single day.

There are practical limits to the amount of jam you can make in your kitchen.

There’s no need for Jamie Oliver’s fancy methods of making coulis to go with a rack of lamb - coulis is just crushed fruit. Simply use the bag of berries you fell on when you got chased out of next’s back garden.

Did you know the Fifty Shades of Grey novel was written on a Blackberry?

The sweat, the backache, the scratch forearms, the intense pleasure of eating with purple lips indulging in the fruits of your labour...

But be warned pop pickers, if you want to come back with a hundred quid’s worth at supermarket prices, you need to take care.

Avoid berries below dog belly height, and be prepared for stains that turn you into Braveheart: even if you eat blackberries with bomb-squad delicacy the purple juice is going to get you and your cashmere cushions.

Are you ready to crumble?

Blackberry and Apple Oaty Crumble

Serves 4


200g/7oz plain flour

110g/4oz butter, cold and cubed

50g/2oz caster sugar

50g/2oz porridge oats (or grown almonds)

150g5oz fresh or frozen blackberries

3 large apples like Royal Gala, Braeburn or Bramley

Caster sugar, as directed


1. First, preheat your oven to 190c/Gas Mark 5.

2. Have a good root around in your kitchen cupboards and look out for a good crumble dish - this could be a deep pudding dish, pie dish or casserole dish.

3. Start by preparing the crumble mix - weigh the flour into a large mixing bowl.

4. Cut up the butter into small chunks, then rub into the flour using your fingertips - you want them like breadcrumbs, but it doesn’t need to be perfect.

5. Once the butter is rubbed in, add the sugar and oats (or grown almonds) to your mix and rub everything together well.

6. Now, using your hand squish everything together into a big lump, but don’t work it too much to make a dough. Set aside.

7. Cut the apples in half and core them before slicing into thickish chunks.

8. Use a layer of apples and blackberries to line the bottom of your pudding dish, then lightly sprinkle over enough caster sugar to cover.

9. Add another layer of apples, blackberries and sugar until you’ve no apples or blackberries left.

10. Crumble your big lump of crumble mix onto the fruits - lumps are what we want, but break them up if you have to cover any bare fruit near the middle. Then sprinkle a little more sugar on top.

11. Bake for around 35-40 minutes, or until your crumble topping is golden brown and crisp.

12. Once baked, leave for 10 minutes if you can to cool before serving with tons of custard.