After School Blackberry Picking

After School Blackberry Picking

Hands, both large and age worn, and small and delicate, snake past dangerously sharp thorns as they reach deep into the thick, tangled, bramble, seeking out the ripest, most juicy of the bushes succulent berries. Purple stained child's fingers are sucked clean of the sweet, almost intoxicating, juices. While muffled curses are grumbled as needle like thorns stab into adults fingers. Yep this is after school blackberry picking at its finest.

After School Blackberry Picking


Sweet, juicy, sticky, and deliciously dark, the deep purple, midnight coloured, blackberries are in abundance at this time of year, and there's nothing the little lady likes more than grabbing a free snack as we explore the great outdoors. But sometimes one or two isn't enough of natures free sweets, so we decided, as a family, rather than jumping on the bus and racing home from school, just to waste a few hours watching Youtube, to instead wander the meandering cycle routes of Milton Keynes, winding our way home and collecting a tub full of these tasty treats.

The Girls Deep into the Picking
The Girls Deep into the Picking


Quick Change


Underpasses make excellent changing areas, so long as someone keeps watch either way for passers by, so uniforms were swapped for street clothes, and we were off. The sun was beaming down strongly on us as the mini heatwave continues, so a constant supply of cool drinks was required as we made our way slowly back home, the 4km taking longer than usual as we made regular stops to check the brambles for extra berries, slowly covering the bottom of our tub from view.

Remembering to leave enough for nature, we eventually quarter filled our pot with a mix of mainly the sweetest berries but the occasional much tarter, cheek clenchingly sour fruits, it all adds to the thrill of blackberry picking, you never quite know what you will get.

Of course now we have to decide what to do with those we picked.

Collecting Plenty
Collecting Plenty


Rules of the Forage


We, as a family, have a couple of rules when it comes to foraging in nature.

  1. Don't take them all! Always leave plenty for the birds and other wildlife to eat.
  2. Never eat the ones from beside roads without giving them a good wash (I'm never fully sure we should eat any from near roads, even washed, but it hasn't killed us yet).
  3. Make sure you KNOW what you are picking (don't pick berries you can't identify)
  4. Try not to get too badly stung/spiked/bitten.
  5. Don't pick very low fruit, you never know if a dog has wee'd there.
  6. Have fun
Pretty simple really.

For those thinking of foraging for blackberries, a great resource is the website FallingFruit.org an online resource for wild growing fruits, you can add your own sightings as well which means others can then also enjoy your bounty.

Linking With...


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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20 comments:

  1. This is a great informative post and looks so much fun! X #countrykids

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    1. We certainly enjoyed it and had a tasty treat for after :)

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  2. We have blackberry's everywhere here as well but they seem to grow with the Nettles. I had to get some gloves out to get at them. We made some jam though and had a lovely time. Glad to see others enjoy picking the wild berries as well. #CountryKids

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    1. Nature produces a bounty for us all it's a shame many choose to ignore it preferring "perfect" blackberries from Tesco (or other supermarkets). Agree about the nettles :) although as a nature photographer I spend so much time in amongst them I've got used to the stings, the little lady hasn't though, so we are careful

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  3. What a lovely thing to do after school. We're planning to go blackberry picking soon to make an apple & blackberry crumble.

    #CountryKids

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    1. I love a blackberry and apple crumble, sadly no chance after the little lady took most to school in her lunch box (the rest ended up a bit squished). Still there is hopefully time to find some more (now just need to find some local apples as well and the filling will be free)

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  4. Nothing beats this time of year and picking blackberries. I'd rather wait until they are in season, than buy them in a supermarket. Like your rules. Only one we add. Never take them low down, incase a dog has lifted his leg! #CountryKids

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    1. That's a very good point, most of the ones we see are growing out the top of other bushes, so think we'd avoid those :)

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  5. We've also managed to do a bit of blackberry picking and my husband made apple/blackberry crumble and it was yum! Love your photos, looks like you guys had so much fun! :) #countrykids

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    1. Thanks, it certainly improved the journey home, much better than a stuffy bus :)

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  6. Another rule I would add would be don't pick the ones near to the ground where dogs do their business. My two love blackberry picking although we rarely seem to get many home, they eat them as we go along!

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    1. Thanks, and as you are the second person to say that I've added it as a new rule :)

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  7. I think the blackberries have been better than ever this year. We have enjoyed picking them on the farm, using them to bake in muffins and using them for fabric printing too. Such a great way to soak up the autumn sun and enjoy some after school time together. A great check list of blackberry picking rules too. I must say i skip the washing bit if it has just rained.

    Thank you for sharing a lovely post on #CountryKids

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    1. ooh never thought of using them for fabric printing, great idea :)

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  8. We love blackberries and we always do this too! Blackberries are just amazing as its everywhere and just as nice as the other more expensive berries! Love the rules too. Thanks for sharing =) #countrykids

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  9. Fab afterschool activity and great info too :) #countrykids

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  10. It's so great to be able to forage for free and get a decent haul of fruit. I think it's really satisfying for the children too, to understand where their food is coming from. Love your checklist of how to eat/what to pick - good tips
    We have blackberries on our route to school and it's sometimes difficult to pass by without picking one or two, although I don't think my children adhere to all your Tips list! hehehe!!
    #CountryKids

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