This humble but prodigious hedgerow fruit has a seemingly unending list of culinary uses. Bramble jelly and blackberry wine may be many foragers’ first ports of call, but this rich and smoky sauce is an exciting alternative that is a real showstopper with barbecued meats
Autumn approaches — the season of mists, mellow fruitfulness...and condiments. For a nation that loves its ketchup and HP sauce, late August and September is an exciting time to be out gathering the bounty to cook up some country alternatives, all of which can rival, if not better, their supermarket counterparts.
Blackberries are one of the first hedgerow fruits to ripen — although the haw and elderberries are close behind — meaning this fruity, warmly-spiced sauce can be prepared well in time for the remaining weeks of barbecue season. It makes a heavenly partner for venison or any type of sausage or porky meat.
1tsp chipotle chilli flakes
1tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp juniper berries
½ tsp ground ginger
1tsp black peppercorns
3 shallots, finely chopped
180g light muscovado sugar (or a mix of caster and dark brown muscovado)
500 ml cider vinegar
Place the blackberries in a colander and rinse with cold water before placing in a large stainless steel pan (do not use aluminium, copper or iron pans as these will react with the vinegar).
Grind the juniper berries and black peppercorns with a pestle and mortar and add to the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients except the sugar.
Cover with a lid and simmer for 30-40 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking and burning
Leave to cool for a few minutes and then blend using either a hand blender or food processor.
Pass the blended mixture back into the pan through a sieve with the aid of a wooden spoon
This should leave behind the seeds, which can be discarded.
Add the sugar and stir in over a low heat until completely dissolved, then simmer until the sauce thickens.
Pour into hot, sterilised jars or sauce bottles, can and seal.
For best results allow to mature for a few weeks before opening.
Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!