Bumper Berries by Anna

I’m all about berries at the moment! The glorious Spring we experienced this year has resulted in bumper crops of top quality berries this summer. Amazing. I’m very lucky as my garden is full of them – strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries and blackcurrants galore – meaning a daily picking regime and a large amount of jar sterilising, preserving, conserving and delivering kilo bags of fruity goodies to friends and neighbours! It’s been great for keeping me busy during these strange times.

Have you had a go at ‘picking your own’ yet this year? Even if you don’t have a fruitful garden of your own, there are plenty of wild fruit gems out there to be found over the coming weeks. Brambles and rasps grow pretty much everywhere, but have you ever tried a more elusive/ secretive blaeberry or wild strawberry? Our Borders woodlands hold many of these little treasures, you probably won’t be able to harvest enough for jam production as both can be laborious, but you will certainly be able to sample a fair few to give you a wee boost as you enjoy your walk. I do of course recommend doing a google search beforehand or taking a guidebook with you to make sure that you are picking the right thing!

Blaeberries (or Bilberry) – is a low growing deciduous shrub, often found on heather moorland and in shady woodlands on acid soil. The berries are small, round and dark blue/ black (very much like a blueberry) and can usually be found from July to September.

Wild Strawberries – dinky, delicious delights! These are relatively widespread and common in open woodlands and are in fruit from late June to August – you need to look very closely for the little berries as they are often hidden by the leaves.

These coming weeks are also the time to start scoping out a future harvest of wild raspberries and brambles as both look set to be berry packed very soon. Happy picking!