We came back from holiday yesterday and had planned on getting on with some housework and resting up today but at about 2pm I decided we should take advantage of the early crop of blackberries that have appeared so we put on our wellies and headed out towards the woods at the back of our house. On the way the lane is filled with brambles and hundreds of blackberries, some ready, some not quite. The kids have been doing this with us since they could walk. They are great at picking the right berries, not ones that are too soft, or ones that have began to rot and neither of them are bothered by the creepy crawlies that you inevitably get covered in while doing it. Today Bob got stung by a nettle so we thought it would be a good opportunity to teach Tom about Dock leaves and how they can help relieve nettle stings. We showed him which leaves they were and bob showed him what to do. About an hour later Bob got stung again and under supervision, I asked Tom if he could find a Dock leaf for his Daddy. He knew just what to look for and went straight to a group of them and picked the biggest. I was amazed he had remembered. We also saw some jumping sheep, early conkers, pear, apple and damson trees and elderberries. We looked under logs and saw some wood lice and worms. It was a great way to enjoy a couple of spare hours and Charlotte enjoyed the blackberry muffins (see below for recipe) we made with our haul (Tom refuses fruit at all times apart from the occasional raisin).
Fun had (according to the kids): 20/10
Tantrum level: 2/10 (A minor one about who can carry the bucket)
Worth it? No doubt about it
Worth knowing: Two buckets are better than one for preventing arguments! Remember when foraging or playing in the countryside to follow The Countryside Code. Not every berry is edible, make sure you know what it is you are picking you can find some great information about this from the Tree Council.
50 things achievements: 21. Pick blackberries growing in the wild and potentially 9. Eat an apple straight from a tree
Blackberry muffin recipe (adapted from an Abel and Cole Kiwi muffin recipe)
Ingredients for 12 muffins:
- 1 egg
- ½ mug of milk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsps Vanilla
- 1½ mugs of plain flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ mug of sugar, plus a little extra bit
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- As many blackberries as you like
Put some empty muffin cases into a muffin tray and then leave to one side.
Put all of the dry ingredients (apart from the fruit) together in a large mixing bowl.
In a jug or separate container mix all of the wet ingredients together.
Gently pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients gently mixing the two together as you do.
When everything is all mixed together gently add the blackberries and fold in (don’t mix them or fuss too much as they will break apart).
Once its all together a heaped tablespoon of mixture into each muffin case and sprinkle with sugar
Put into a pre-heated oven and bake at 220°C for about 25 minutes.