Growing up I had always wondered about whether fruit and berries I saw beside the road or in parks were edible. “Don’t eat them,” my mother warned. “You don’t know what they might have been sprayed with.”
I am living on the edge now, throwing all caution to the wind because – shock, horror – I have eaten wild blackberries and survived. And I also took my kids with me when I picked them.
Blackberries grow wild in patches throughout Canberra in huge thorny thickets. They are invasive. I always wondered as I drover past in a hurry if the fruit was edible. So last weekend I stopped the car near a thicket and got out to try some.
So sweet! So satisfying! So much fun to find the ripe black berries hidden! So thorny. Hands black with berry stains and with small cuts from the thorns, I headed back to the car with my treasured berries – which included a few collected by my three year old (with help – I didn’t let him go near the thorns.) My six year old was unenthused, but did try one or two.
I did wonder, out of a sense of parental guilt, about whether the blackberries had been sprayed. They looked like they were growing pretty well so I guessed no-one had been to throw chemicals on them recently. I asked food blogger and forager extraordinaire Susan from Susan’s Sumptuous Suppers about this (she had also been foraging for blackberries recently). She assured me that big signs warning about spraying are put up before anything happens. But in any case the blackberries are rarely sprayed while they are fruiting. “If you are concerned, ring up Canberra’s Territory and Municipal Services and ask them if they are spraying in that area,” she suggested.
Why didn’t I think of that? To actually pick up the phone and ask the relevant government agency if they were spraying chemicals? It made me wonder a bit why I trustingly buy stuff from the supermarket without asking the same questions about what has been sprayed onto my fruit and vege.
Back home, I used the blackberries in some smoothies for lunch (which Little A enjoyed, but Big A didn’t as he only likes plain banana). Then I used some for yoghurt pops, and still more leftover for an ice-creaming topping sauce. I felt I used too many blackberries for this recipe frozen popsicle recipe; when I make them again I will add only 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup as a like a creamier version. But add as many or as little as you like.
This is a simple recipe, but very cost effective. And also very calorie friendly as well.
500ml skim milk yoghurt
1/2 to 2/3 cup foraged blackberries
4 to 5 pieces artificial sweetner (or 4 to 5 teaspoons sugar)
- Make the yoghurt by adding two spoonfuls of culture powder (e.g. of an Easi-yo sachet) and 1 1/3 cups of water to a 1 litre container. Mix to combine then leave in a warm place for around eight hours. I make mine in an Easiyo thermos.
- In a blender, combine all ingredients. Process until smooth.
- Pour into ice-cream popsicle moulds and freeze.
- Eat and enjoy!
Yoghurt (homemade) 60c
Artificial sweetner 10c
Blackberries – free
Total cost: 70c or 9c a serve
29 calories a serve
They look really yum! I have one or two blackberry bushes of my own (cough cough – too lazy to spray). Might try this recipe when they fruit. Then I’ll spray them…
I was too lazy to plant many vegies this year. Well I planted out a few things that were clumping together, and some basil I had had on the windowsill since the depths of winter when I bought from ALDI craving greenery. I think work with what you’ve got and use what you’ve got. I revisited my favourite patch recently, and I noticed someone had cut a path into it. If your bushes are big that could be an option to really get to some of the juicy berries.
Yes. That really is the answer. Fresh fruit yoghurt pops. I love them.
Yes, they are refreshing aren’t they. And sort of healthy.
I have very happy childhood memories of eating blackberries up the back of our place as a kid, that’s something I miss now. Finding some out in the wild is a great idea. Loved your blackberry sauce, by the way!
Were they fun to pick? I wondered a bit as I lead my kids on a merry blackberry picking expedition, without gloves or sensible clothes, if they hated it and would blame me for their scratches later in life.
It’s all part of the fun, I loved it
I’m a big easi yo fan. And, as for hedgerow fruit – I’ve eaten it all my life and it’s never hurt me!
Easiyo is great, isn’t it! I don’t use the full sachet; just two tablespoons plus milk powder is enough to set a batch. And glad I am in good company re foraged berries.
What a great idea, thanks! I love all forest fruit but the best blackberries I had in Albania, they were just so sweet and full of sun rays! Amazing stuff!
Albanian berries! I must remember that if I ever visit there in the summertime.
It is really amazing how something plucked from the wild can be made into something so beautiful! I have yet to try making yogurt pops!
I like noticing edible food in the built environment. I like questioning the ‘must buy in a supermarket’ mentality. And yoghurt popsicles are definitely very easy.
I’m sure you would come up with a combination that was spectacular and unique.
What a marvelous find!! Blackberries grew wild where I lived in Washington State and Canada, but I haven’t seen them in Queensland yet. Hopefully soon! 🙂
I don’t remember seeing them when I lived in Queensland, either. They are quite invasive so you would know it if they were around.
Some fantastic, practical tips. I like the idea of a low calorie dessert! What a good mum you are to make these delicious desserts for your children.
I don’t know about being a good mum. Felt a bit guilty about them scratchy their legs on the blackberry thorns. A few special bandaids were used to fix that.
Hahaha…. I remember my Momma warning me about picking berries too, and even worse I see them about the place when I am on my walks and balk at picking them to this day. Yet like you say, I don’t question what is being sprayed on my food. Hmmm… I really must be more mindful.
Love this recipe, where do I find those ice block shells? I have been looking everywhere but no luck.
I shared this blog post with my mum, who THEN told me she used to love picking blackberries as a child. Never took us, though, and discouraged it. I have had these ice block shells for years. Somehow I haven’t lost the tops but it has come close. Can’t remember where I got them from, sorry.
This looks so refreshing and healthy! What a great idea. Plus, I loved the blackberry ice cream topping you made as well!! 🙂
Thanks on both counts
This takes me back to the days when I was a kid. Those look really good too.
What were your favourite popsicles??? A lot of the ones now are a bit fancy.