Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Autumn Picking

I am lucky to be able to grow a lot of fruits and vegetables in my garden and as we start moving into the autumn months there is an abundance of blackberries to choose from and this year they seem to be much bigger than normal!

Although they are pretty simple to grow, there are also many to choose from on local hedgerows which can be just as good (although perhaps avoid those along the road side) and now is a good opportunity to take advantage of a good source of vitamins from this seasonal fruit.  

So what are the benefits of Blackberries?
Blackberries are packed with antioxidants including vitamin C and bioflavonoids like spinach, apples plums and grapes.  The dark blue not only provides another colour into your rainbow of fruits and vegetables to be eaten, but the dark colour also means it’s has one of the highest anti-oxidant levels of all fruits.

Vitamin C must be part of the everyday diet as the body can't produce it and it plays a role in exercise metabolism as well as to maintain health.

During exercise there is normally damage to muscles especially during harder workouts and this must be repaired in order for the athlete to recover and adapt. One function of Vitamin C is in the process of making collagen, and important ingredient in the repair of damaged muscles and tissue. It also reduces the amount of oxidative stress an athletes may suffer and therefor help to reduce the amount of illnesses picked up by athletes and allows them to train optimally.

As always Blackberries provide the best benefits in their natural state so an easy way to include them in your diet is as a smoothie or by adding them to cereals, I will include a simple apple and blackberry crumble recipe to this blog which provides an idea to use them for dessert.  

Tips for Blackberries:
Buying: If possible, don’t. Wild berries have a depth of flavour. Search out brambles near you avoiding roadside or polluted spots.  Even in cities you can find blackberries growing on scrubland, canal side paths and wooded areas.
Storing: Keep them cool and dry and eat within a day or two. Blackberries do freeze well and it’s a good idea to get a few bags in the freezer to use with apples throughout the winter.
Preparing: Wash thoroughly especially in they have been hand-picked. 

Simple Apple and Blackberry Crumble
(Prep 10mins, Cook 25mins and serves 4)
120g Plain Flour
60g Caster Sugar
60g unsalted butter
For the Fruit Compote:
300g Cooking Apples
30g unsalted butter
30g sugar
115g Blackberries
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Heat Oven to 190C Gas Mark 5
  2. Crumble Topping: Tip the flour and sugar into a large bowl and add butter. Using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour to make a light breadcrumb texture.
  3. Compote- Peel and core the apples into small chunks. Put the sugar and butter into a saucepan and melt over a medium heat. Cook for 3mins until the mixture turns to a light caramel. Stir in the apples and cook for 3mins
  4.  Cover, remove from the heat and leave for 2-3 minutes in the pan
  5.  Add the compote to the cooking dish and add the crumble topping to the top of the mixture and also add some muesli or oats to add nutritional value and then cook in the oven for 20-30mins- until the crumble topping starts to brown.

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