Autumn seems to have come early this year in Britain with wild blackberries growing earlier than usual. Having picked 1kg of wild blackberries in our secret hunting ground in Kent, we immediately set about finding a couple of recipes to make the most of them while freezing the rest for the next year.
A recipe in Book 5 for 'Blackberry Syrup' particularly stood out to us. This would comfortably get through half of the berries we had picked, and last for at least 2 weeks in the fridge.
The result: an incredibly sweet and beautifully coloured syrup that might take a while to make but is relatively fuss free! We have tried ours (so far) drizzled over vanilla ice cream, our 1960s blackberry pancakes, a natural yoghurt & granola parfait, a chocolate muffin... you can put it on almost anything.
The original recipe makes 8 pints, so we divided the amounts by 8 to get 1 pint.
Original Recipe: 'Blackberry Syrup' (Book 5, 1936)
Speed: 2 hrs | Makes: 1 pint
1 pint blackberries
680g loaf sugar (or the equivalent amount of castor sugar)
1. Place a layer of blackberries in a saucepan and then sprinkle with a few heaped tablespoons of the sugar. Then, place another layer of blackberries and sprinkle some more sugar, and continue layering like this until all of the fruit and sugar are used.
2. Let this stand for several hours (we left ours for 5 hours), then press out all of the juice through a sieve or appropriate cloth, passing some of the water through the remaining pulp to that none of the juice is lost.
3. Add the remaining sugar and water to the juice and bring this to the boil over a low/medium heat.
4. Once boiled, skim and strain through a through a sieve or appropriate cloth into a heat proof jug. Be very careful not to touch the syrup.
5. Leave this to cool for at least an hour before pouring into an airtight bottle. Leave to stand until this gets to room temperature and then move to store in a cool place, ideally where the temperature of this location will not exceed 12°C / 55°F.
Original Recipe for 'Blackberry Syrup'
'BOOK 5': Cookery Illustrated and Household Management (1936)
By: Elizabeth Craig
Publisher: Odhams Press Limited (Long Acre, London, W.C.2, England, U.K.)