...If we do say so ourselves!
In a month when Mother Nature's bounty is truly apparent, berries still manage to stand out as the real stars of the Autumn show. Elder, sloe, loganberry and blackberry are just a few of the varieties you may notice gleaming on trees and from hedgerows at this time of year and wish you were growing, but on this occasion our Gift of the Month goes to the latter two, which are both included in our Berry Box Gift.
History of Blackberries and Loganberries
Blackberries have grown wild across the Europe for centuries, in fact evidence confirms that they were being eaten as far back as 8000BC! These fast growing brambles are extremely well suited to our climate and can be found everywhere, which has come in very handy throughout history. For example, did you know that during World War One, children were given time off school to help the war effort by collecting these prolific little berries, the juice of which would be extracted and sent over to soldiers on the front line?
In comparison, Loganberries were only invented in 1883; an accident by American horticulturist James Harvey Logan. They are a cross between blackberries and raspberries, but unlike either patent, the seeds are much less noticeable, being both smaller and softer, perfect for making into jams and jellies.
Michaelmas, which falls on 29th September, is an important feast day in the Christian calendar to honour the Archangel Michael, who expelled Lucifer from heaven for his treachery. According to medieval folklore, Lucifer fell through the skies and landed straight onto a thorny blackberry bush; if you've ever picked wild blackberries you'll know that must have hurt!
The story goes that the devil cursed the blackberry bush, some say he urinated on it, others that he spat on the bush. Either way, if you believe ancient lore, blackberries are not fit to pick or eat after Old Michaelmas Day.
Cooking and Eating Berries
Blackberries are not just our Gift of the Month, they are also one of the Nations favourite fruits! Traditionally, we like to eat them baked into apple pies, or make into jam or bramble jelly. but loganberries are a great jam making alternative as the seeds are less prominent, but all the flavour, sweetness and acidity is still there.
Both blackberries and loganberries are also brilliant with meringues, in cheesecakes, and with strong flavoured red meat such as duck and game.
Keep your eyes pealed for a brilliant blackberry jam recipe which will be up on the blog soon!
Care Hints and Tips
Hardy and adaptable brambles like blackberries make good pioneer species, so are often found in places you would least expect them. Of course this adaptability also makes then a fantastic gift for the novice gardener as they are easy to grow.
Our main tip when it comes to growing berry bushes such as loganberry and blackberry plants is to make sure you prune them regularly. Un -pruned berry bushes can quickly become overgrown, less productive and loose their attractive shape.
Both the loganberry and blackberry plant included in or Berry Box Gift are thorn free, making them much nicer options for the garden; pruning and picking is much less painful than with wild blackberry bushes!