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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.

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  1. Great post. I am feeling inspired to make fruit gin. I usually do strawberry but I love the sound of blackberry and apple. I've just inherited a jam pan so am hoping to have a go at some of that too. Weirdly I've made marmalade loads but never jam.

  2. Now you have me yearning for blackberries even though we don't get them much here I love the sound of drinking fruity gin in front of christmas tv - sounds so very british - there is a great peppa pig show on picking blackberries which I think of now (having watched the tv so often) with its blackberry crumble.

  3. I need to go on a bramble hunt; I usually make pies and more pies (then some pies) but these jam photos have made me change my plans!

  4. I love infusing fruit in alcohol, and that blackberry gin is looking sooo good! And that French toast with blackberry jam...omg. I need to find some blackberries!!!

  5. Blackberries! Great pick of late summer foods! This is making my mouth water and I soooo want a bite of it!

  6. Fabulous, I forget about these dusky juicy blackberries until I see them and then go all crazy for them. I keep meaning to go foraging for them, but distractions have stopped me from doing so. Its been a while since i've infused alcohol with fruit...I am all tempted now

  7. Oh my God, I wish berries were like tribbles. I'm stoked for fall, but it also feels a little bittersweet for me. Not for the food, but for the clothes. I don't want to give up my summer clothes!

  8. Blackberries are so lovely but I barely get to eat them. When I was little my granny had them on her farm, along with strawberries, mulberries, figs and more...so much delicious jam :)

  9. So lucky for an abundance of Blackberries! I love gooseberries and mulberries and my mom just gave me a tub of wolf berries! I missed out on blackberry season, I don't know why, I think I ate two :/ I made up for it by eating fist fulls of blueberries everyday though!

  10. Blackberries are my favorite of all the berries, although I only like to eat them fresh. I'm sad it's the end of the season. You're right, apples and pears just aren't my jam either. :-)

  11. I'll eat (and even reluctantly enjoy) apples and pears when necessary, but summer fruits will always have my heart. Over the years, I've had some really choice blackberry picking spots in my life ... but for the last few years I haven't had a good place. This year, our California drought was so bad that all the wild blackberries just showed up looking like raisins on the plants... they never got big and juicy. SO SAD


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