Vegan MoFo day 16 - my favourite late summer food is blackberries
Late summer eating is stuffed full of melancholy - you know all those great summer sweetcorn, tomatoes, and stone fruit is coming to an end. But while you know that autumn brings its own rewards with vegetables in the form of squash and all its attendants, you can't say the same about fruit. Yeah, it's apple and pear season, but I can't get wound up about those.
Blackberries, though, blackberries are almost worth turning your back on sunshine, outdoors drinks, and, you know, joy for.
This year there's been an early, bumper crop of blackberries around here. I've been picking and picking, and filling up my freezer with them and they still keep coming, like the plague or something.
A blackberry glut necessitates doing two things: making blackberry and apple gin (add blackberries, apples, and sugar to gin, leave for a while) and making blackberry jam (like the gin but with less gin and more boiling).
But having done all that, I've still got a frightening amount of blackberries in my freezer. It's like they're tribbles or something - I look away for two minutes, and they've multiplied.
So, now, I'm going to find new ways to dispatch those lovely berries.
Among those novel blackberry dispatching methods that I'm making use of are vegan french toast with blackberry sauce.
Thanks to a tip off from Bite-sized thoughts, I mixed up custard powder and soy milk and used it as an egg replacer to make the French toast. I boiled up some blackberries and sugar for a sauce (basically the same as the jam but with only a few minutes of boiling. Are all my blackberry recipes the same?!)
Yes, I like a bit of french toast with my blackberry sauce. So good. The sharp fruit cuts through the sweet, vanilla-heavy custard a treat.
But blackberry sauce will only get rid of so many blackberries. To really run down the stocks, you have to make two things: gin and jam (not together, though that would be a great cocktail).
Here's my blackberry and bramley apple gin. I put a load of both into the gin and leave to steep until just before Christmas, then add caster sugar or sugar syrup to taste. Do that, and you've got a kickass liqueur for when you're watching Christmas TV after too much dinner.
I normally eyeball the amount of fruit, but if you want a recipe, I think this one's come out good before.
And then you've got jam. Is there ever anything more suited to blackberries than jamming them?
I think berries are meant to have low pectin levels, which makes it harder to get them to set. I read somewhere that adding some acid (usually in the form of lemon juice) can help, so I added a small handful of redcurrants to help and it seemed to work - a really nice, softly set jam that is just so right for breakfasts in bed.