This year you can find some of the plumpest, juiciest blackberries I’ve ever seen in the hedgerows.  The combination of sunshine and rain has at least been appreciated by the berries, at the expense of the British holidaymakers. Now is the time to take advantage of this berried treasure, with a gentle hedgerow forage in the countryside.  If you know what to look for, then there are also bullace and sloe – both members of the wild plum family, and great for gin-making and flavoured syrups.

The classic combination is Blackberry and Apple, with the first of the UK apples now coming into season.  Blackberry and apple compote with vanilla ice cream is very simple to put together, while a pie topped with puff pastry is the ultimate finish to an Autumn Sunday lunch.   

Blackberries are packed with Vitamin C, are great in cereal, smoothies and salads, and go well in a gravy for venison or wild rabbit. They make an ideal cheesecake ingredient,  homemade jam or a bramble gin cocktail, so get picking and use your culinary imagination. 

Elderberries need to be cooked and are not nearly as sweet as blackberries, but you can make a syrup that will keep coughs and colds at bay throughout the winter, as they are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, a renowned remedy in folk medicine that is now backed up by the science.