Wild berries like these are great if you want an easy, safe intro to foraging. Berries that are like raspberries and blackberries, with small globes around a central stem are never poisonous, and so there should be no uncertainty about eating them. These wild blackberries grow all around us, as do black raspberries, and they make great substitutes in anything you'd use cultivated berries for.
This is a very easy recipe from the great Julia Child. Obviously you just substitute the wild berries for cherries.
ingredientsJulia Child's Clafoutis
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar
preparationIn a blender blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter in a buttered 7 or 8 cup lightly buttered fireproof baking dish. Place in the oven until a film of batter sets in the pan. Remove from the heat and spread the cherries over the batter. Sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about for about 45 minutes to an hour. The clafoutis is done when puffed and brown and and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm.
Tarts and Jellies
Wild berries are also great to make jelly with, especially as many of them have enough pectin to form jelly without gelatin.
If you are going to seal the jars, sanitize them in boiling water first.
Rinse the berries and dry lightly. Crush them in the pan, and add an equal amount of sugar (ie. one cup of berries = 1 cup of sugar). I use about 2 cups of berries per jar.
Cook the jam until it reaches 220 degrees F. I've found this is the easiest way to determine when jelly is done. And be sure not to let it burn! You have to be stirring almost constantly to prevent the berries from burning and sugar from hardening.
Put into jars with 1/4" headspace. Put in hot water bath to seal.
Now take a sheet of puff pastry and blind bake it at 350F for 20 minutes. While still relatively warm, spread a thick layer of jelly on. Add washed berries on top, and sprinkle with slivered almonds and sugar. Voila! A wonderful tart that is super easy to make!
Just be sure to serve it with a little bit of fresh whipped cream!
These and many more recipes can be tried with all sorts of seasonal recipes. I really love plum cherry jam, and even doing simple things like sprinkling some of the smaller berries on a salad.