I was going to write about the tedium of pubs and restaurants serving food on anything but plates. As an owner of a tableware hire business I think I have a valid point. My burger was served on a slate as was my friend’s lamb chop with sauce. Sauce! On what is basically a roof tile!
Anyway, as I recently switched my brain into a positive ‘gratitude mode’, I decided not to whinge. There are enough people doing just that. Instead I am going to introduce you to the joy of bird food.
A few moths ago a friend of mine forwarded me a message from some website where mums discuss… things. There was a picture of blackberries and a panicky question to the other mums asking if they were edible. Apparently her offspring popped some of them into its mouth and she was in frenzy, not knowing whether to call an ambulance. I shook my head and said something unfavourable about people from a town.
I forgot about that until today when on my evening walk with Fred the dog (the Fitbit has me completing trekking challenges now) I came across a couple plucking juicy blackberries off the hedgerow and filling up their many plastic boxes. To my brief question ‘crumble?’ they answered a united ‘oh yeah!’. I realised again how lucky we are here in England that we can go out and collect food from hedges.
So for that frightened mum and others out there: Blackberries grow on a plant called Bramble (Rubus Fruticosus). You can find it in hedgerows, creeping up garages and sheds and generally trying to take over the world. It has vicious thorns that your children will come across sooner or later, so you might as well introduce them to each other. As well as pretty little flowers (from white to pink) brambles boast the above mentioned blackberries. And here is the great fact – something growing wildly, something FREE can be magicked into jams, cakes, puddings, ice cream, flavoured vodka (no need to introduce your children just yet), squash, jellies and sauces.
Together with the lace-like blossom of elderflower, black sloes and mushrooms they are there for the taking. And if you can’t reach the ones inside the hedge or high up in a tree, don’t worry too much! They were placed there especially for the wildlife to peruse.