I've been blackberrying this week and the rest of Essex appears to have beaten me to it. I was quite persistent though and managed a reasonable haul.
To save this nature's harvest I soak them in a salty solution for a while (I read somewhere this gets rid of any bugs), then rinse, drain and freeze. To freeze I use a big baking sheet with edges and spread the fruit one fruit deep. Bung in the freezer and then when frozen I store in plastic containers, but freezer bags work equally well.
This weekend I fancied a mid-morning treat so I made some blackberry muffins.
If you too have a glut of blackberries, or any summer fruit then why not try this easy recipe.
You will need a 12 hole muffin tin and muffin cases and a fan oven pre-heated to 160°C. I use different quantities of liquid and fruit depending on whether the fruit is frozen or not. When I freeze fruit I wash it, drain it and then freeze. I figure I can never remove all the water so the frozen weight includes water that isn't part of the fruit. So I reduce the liquid by the same amount that I increase the fruit amount by. Does that make sense?
- 280g plain flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (extract not essence) - optional (I didn't use this)
- 85-110g white sugar (caster or granulated) - amount varies depending on how sweet you like things
- 1 egg
- 240 ml milk (220ml if using frozen berries) - any type of milk
- 90ml corn oil (sunflower oil or rapeseed oil will also work but don't use olive oil)
- 140g blackberries or other fruit (160g if using frozen fruit)
- Firstly - if using frozen berries then don't defrost them before using them.
- In a large bowl stir flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together with a fork. If you like washing up then use a sieve (I never use a sieve).
- In a separate bowl or jug beat the egg and stir in milk and corn oil.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until you can't see any flour. Do not beat the mixture. STIR only. I use big tablespoon for stirring rather than wooden spoon.
- Stir berries in at the end until evenly distributed. If using fresh fruit then do this gently to avoid crushing the berries. Big berries should be chopped before this step. I had smallish blackberries and didn't chop them - I couldn't really because they were frozen.
- Spoon mixture into muffin cases. I find this mixture makes eleven good-sized muffins but you could make 12 slightly smaller ones.
- Cook for 20-25 mins (add 5 mins if fruit is frozen).
- They don't go a deep brown colour and should be taken out of the oven when lightly browned or when they spring back when pressed lightly.
- Tempting as it is to have them straight from the oven it is best to wait until they've cooled a little because otherwise the muffin stays stuck to the muffin case.
- These muffins freeze very well and can be defrosted quickly with a 30 second blast in the microwave on full power (one at a time).