From August to October, when walking in the woods, it is worth taking a basket, because at this time you can find a lot of wild blackberries. These are smaller than the cultivated garden blackberries, but much more aromatic. However, blackberries are not only a pleasure, but at the same time a particularly healthy food. I would like to invite you to get to know the wild guys from the forest better. Of course, you can try all the recipes below with garden blackberries. The cultivars for the garden also have the advantage that they usually do not have thorns.
Blackberries: Ecologically valuable
The wild blackberry is an ecologically valuable shrub. Its thorny thicket is an ideal nesting and sheltering wood for many birds. 32 species of birds visit the shrub and enjoy the sweet fruits. The thorny blackberry bushes are also very attractive for the endangered insect world. Eighty-five insect species have been counted that depend on the leaves, flower nectar or fruit of the blackberry, including many beetles, wild bees and also 34 butterfly species.
With spines of blackberries against magic
If you’ve ever harvested blackberries in the woods, you’re familiar with the prickly tendrils that like to snag clothing and skin. These “nasty spines” inspired our ancestors to use the defensive plant to cast protective spells against witches and enchanted diseases. Thus, a wreath of blackberry branches was nailed over the stable door to protect livestock from bewitchment.
Crawling through brambles was also used to remove sorcery and diseases. Evil was to be wiped off by the sharp spines, so to speak. For example, children could get rid of their rashes or coughs by crawling through a bramble vine at sunrise for nine consecutive days. Married couples who had fallen out due to witchcraft were advised to crawl together on their knees through a blackberry hedge on three consecutive Fridays. Then they would get along again. Probably because the two had to doctor each other’s scratched skin.
Devilish legends about the blackberries
In some old legends and tales it is said that blackberries, when they become overripe, are no longer usable. In Ireland it was said that after Michaelmas (September 29) the devil would set his foot on the blackberries or hurl his club over them, making them inedible. An English legend tells why it is not allowed to harvest blackberries after October 11: because on that day the devil was thrown out of heaven. He stupidly fell into a blackberry bush with strong pointed thorns and was accordingly badly battered. He was so furious about this that from then on he spat on the blackberries on October 11, making them useless.
The blackberry as a medicinal plant
In modern phytotherapy it is mainly the leaves of the blackberry that are used, namely for inflammations of the mouth and throat and for diarrhea. The high tannin content is mainly responsible for its effectiveness. Tannins have astringent, constipating and antibacterial effects. For medicinal purposes, the leaves are collected during the flowering season in summer and gently dried. For tea infusion, take 2 tsp of crushed leaves and pour over a cup of hot water. After 10 minutes of infusion, you can drink the tea or gargle. The young spring leaves (April) are also suitable for a tasty “home tea”. In times of need, for example during the world wars, they were fermented to make a substitute for black tea. How to make this “black tea from blackberry leaves”, you can read here in the raccoon magazine.
The berries are also interesting from a medicinal point of view, because they have a considerable amount of antioxidants, including very many anthocyanins and phenolic acids. Especially the anthocyanin content is very remarkable with an average of 170 mg /100 g. Antioxidants protect our organism from the aggressive free radicals that can damage cells. In addition, the anthocyanins contained in blackberries have a vasoprotective effect and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. But that’s not all: blackberry fruits also contain a lot of provitamin A (ß-carotene), which is important for the visual process, among other things. In folk medicine, warmed blackberry juice is considered a good remedy for hoarseness.
Pleasure factor blackberries
The glossy black fruits of wild blackberries taste sweet and tart. Be sure to harvest only ripe, deep black berries. Those that are difficult to peel are usually still unripe and very sour. You need to process the delicate juicy berries quickly or freeze them for preservation. The best way to enjoy the aromatic fruits is raw: either pure, sugared or stirred into yogurt. The fruits are also excellent for juice, ice cream, fruit sauce, jam and jelly. Due to their coloring effect, they give a special hue to many preparations, such as vinegar or liqueur. They can also be used wonderfully in cakes, muffins, smoothies, fruit salads and quark dishes.
Wild blackberry jam
1 kg wild blackberries (alternatively garden blackberries)
juice of one lemon
1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp. cinnamon
500 g jam sugar 2:1
Place fruit in a saucepan and mash very briefly (not too vigorously). Add scraped vanilla bean or cinnamon, depending on your preference. Now add the preserving sugar and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Simmer for 4-5 minutes and pour into prepared screw-top jars.
Smoothie with blackberries
250 g wild blackberries (alternatively garden blackberries)
50 g oat flakes
100 g yogurt
100 ml oat milk or rice milk
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend for a few minutes until creamy. Depending on your preference, you can flavor the drink with vanilla or cinnamon.
Blackberry ice cream from the blender
300 g blackberries (frozen)
150 g cold cream
50 g natural yogurt (well chilled)
80 g fine sugar or coconut blossom sugar
3 pinches of vanilla or cinnamon (depending on preference)
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30-40 seconds, but only at medium speed. The ice cream now has a creamy consistency and can be served; for more firmness, you can put it in the freezer for another hour.