Would you like to come blackberry picking on Sunday 7th August?

Hi all volunteers

There are plenty of early blackberries about it seems and it looks as though we should be able to have an inaugural pick on Sunday August 7 at 7pm. We’ll meet at Mayfield School, High Lane, Hanwell, W7 3RT and set off about 7.15.

We will almost certainly pick again – but we’ll decide on the exact date after this Sunday. We’ll bring some tupperware to collect the blackberry donations for WEN, but bring your own, too, so you can take some home.

Let’s hope the weather stays fine!


Go Blackberry picking and get Cellulitus!

I kid you not! The following day after the blackberry picking event I noticed 3 small bites on my shin and ankle. Two days later my ankle had swollen and I mentioned it to the GP as I was there with my son. Started with steroid cream and antihistamine tablets. Thursday evening/Friday morning large rash on shin and ankle, visited the Doctors again and now on high strength antibiotics for 10 days! It is so ITCHY too!

Next time it’s long socks and jeans all the way.

Blackberry Picking Party! – Bitterns Field, Brent River Park

Some pics of tonight’s party with a difference! Many thanks to all of you that came along, around 10 of us picked around 10kg of blackberries so lots of yummy blackberry and apple jam to be made.

An Abundance of Blackberries!
A close up of those luscious blackberries
Wendy on the left, me in the middle and Caroline on the right
Our Sarah from WEN on the left and two of the volunteers
Having a natter with Wendy

Picking Party! Tuesday 17th August – Bitterns Field, Brent River Park W7

I went along today to have a look at the blackberries and could not believe my eyes, literally hundreds of bushes with ripe blackberries and a lot more still to come – I ran out of time as I had my young son with me today so could only pick a few tubs. We also found a damson tree overhanging the river so I managed to pick a couple of kg.

So with this in mind I am looking for volunteers to help me out to pick more for Abundance so we can make some lovely jam – anyone that volunteers gets a jar!

I drove today and the entrance nearest to the field at around 7.15pm on Tuesday 17th August. This is on Bridge Avenue where it meets Brookbank Avenue. From there it is a short walk around the field to the blackberry bushes.

Please let me know if you are interested in coming along. I will supply containers.


Blackberry Jam 

2kg of frozen blackberries [no need to defrost]
6 tablespoons of lemon juice
300ml of water [can add a little more, for example, 100ml if the mixture is looking too thick]
Could use up to 1.2 kgs sugar [depends on volume of mixture- use 250gms sugar to 250ml of mixture]

•    Put two small places or saucers in the freezer.  Put the frozen berries in a large pan with the water  and lemon juice
•    Bring to the boil and gently simmer for about 15-30 minutes or until the fruit has softened.
•    Measure the fruit mixture and add 250gms sugar for every 250ml of mixture.
•    Add the sugar and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes till all dissolved.  Return to the boil and boil vigorously, stirring to ensure it is not sticking on the base of the pan.
•    Remove any scum that has formed after the first 5 minutes with a large spoon.
•    When the jam falls from the tilted wooden/melamine spoon [metal spoons retain heat] in a sheet/ large mass, without dripping, start testing for setting point.
•    If set, turn off heat, remove any remaining scum from the surface.
•    Spoon immediately into clean warm jars and seal with lid if a pulpy jam.  Otherwise let the mixture stand for a couple of minutes to allow the fruit to settle evenly [See separate Jam notes].
•    Leave jars to stand, cool and set without moving.

Makes between 2-3 litres

Blackberry Jam – Another Success!

Two Abundance volunteers – Sarah and Elizabeth had a very successful session on Saturday 9th September – 16 jars of blackberry jam plus a taster jar from just over 2kg of blackberries. We were worried we wouldn’t have enough blackberries this year to make any real quantity of blackberry jam but we still have around 2kg left over and another volunteer, Gill is going to try blackberry and lime jam – sounds delicious and I assume the lime will offset the sweetness, ideal if you find jam a bit sweet and cloying. 

Sarah and Elizabeth used 6 tblsp of lemon juice to ensure a set.  They also found the jam set in about 5 minutes.  Admittedly they used very little water to stop them burning when breaking down but it gave a good consistency of fruit to liquid.  They also used jam sugar [ie sugar + pectin] covering all bases to ensure a set!  Less water was used (300ml) because they cooked the blackberries from frozen which added some water.

Sugar quantities were 200grms sugar to 250ml of blackberry mixture.