Stewed blackberries with vanilla

I’ve spent far too much time glued to my laptop recently trying to make progress with the thesis and feeling stressed about it, so yesterday afternoon I decided to leave it all behind for an hour and take a walk to the park. Our local park is less than a 5 minute walk away and it’s huge with plenty of blackberry bushes. I found the best ones last year at the far end of the park and made a beeline for them yesterday afternoon with an empty tupperware in my bag. After only 20 minutes of picking I managed to fill my tub with just over 700g of big juicy blackberries. If I’d had a bigger tub I could easily have picked twice that many but it gives me a good reason to get out of the flat again later in the week to go and pick some more. I’ve been working at home for the past couple of weeks instead of going into campus and I’m starting to feel like a bit of a hermit, it’s far too easy to spend several days at home not going anywhere at the moment which I know is not good for me. But the prospect of free food waiting to be picked is enough to get me out and about.

I’ve always enjoyed blackberry picking, every summer when I was a child my brothers and I would go on holiday with our grandparents to their caravan in north Wales. We always thought this was great fun as the caravan park was close to woodlands that were brilliant for exploring in and we also weren’t far from Snowdonia, and the beaches on the north west coast. My grandparents would always take us blackberry picking along the lanes near the caravan each summer and our treat was having stewed blackberries with our cereal for breakfast. One of my favourite breakfasts when I was probably about 8 years old was coco pops with stewed blackberries on top, breakfast heaven. My tastes have changed somewhat over the past 20 years and now instead of chocolatey cereal I like having my stewed blackberries for breakfast with overnight oats soaked in apple juice and a good dollop of full fat natural yoghurt.

The stewed blackberries will keep in the fridge for a few days or you can freeze them. They are absolutely delicious swirled through plain yoghurt and I think they would also work well mixed through a good quality vanilla ice cream to create a seasonal blackberry ripple. You could also use your stewed blackberries to make a blackberry crumble or pie or as filling for a layer cake. I haven’t quite decided what I want to make with mine yet so they’re in the freezer waiting for me to make a decision and to have time to play in the kitchen.

Ingredients – makes approx 500ml

500g wild blackberries, rinsed
100g caster sugar
2 vanilla pods, split

I’ve purposefully not added very much sugar to the fruit as I wanted to retain some of their natural tartness, though if you prefer your fruit sweeter just add a little more sugar to taste.

Put the blackberries into a small pan and mash them with a potato masher to break them up a bit and release some of the juice. Add the vanilla pods and sugar and stir well, place the pan over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Allow the berries to boil for about a minute then remove the pan from the heat, stir well and leave the vanilla pods to infuse. When the blackberries are cool, remove the vanilla pods and then either use the blackberries to create a tasty pudding or freeze in a suitable container for future use.

I’m not the only one enjoying blackberries with vanilla this summer, check out these recent recipes:

Blackberry Tofu Brulée
Mini Victoria sponges with blackberry cream

And for loads more blackberry inspiration have a look at my brand new Pinterest board.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy blackberries?

I’m linking this post up with Simple and in Season, created by Ren and hosted this month by Elizabeth, Recipe of the Week, Cook Blog Share, Tasty Tuesdays and Credit Crunch Munch organised by Helen and Camilla and also hosted by Elizabeth this month.


  • Camilla Hawkins
    August 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Gosh Jen I’m jealous, all those blackberries in 20 minutes and such big specimens too – I have to fight with stinging nettles and go on quite a meander to find my blackberries! Good idea to stew them and keep for a pudding of your choice at a later date! Thanks for entering Credit Crunch Munch:-)

    • Jen Price
      August 13, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      I think I’ve hit jackpot this summer, no sign of anyone else picking either so looks like I’ll have to make space in the freezer for more!

  • Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
    August 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Wow – that is a lot of blackberries. Great idea to stew them.

  • Kavey
    August 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I adore blackberry picking and even the scratched arms don’t put me off!

  • Jessica Dearnley
    August 13, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    I love blackberries and vanilla ice-cream, it reminds me of being young 🙂


  • Fish Fingers for Tea
    August 13, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    We’re yet to go blackberry picking this year though I know there are bushes full in a nearby wood. Maybe this weekend! I adore stewed blackberries, fab in yoghurt!

  • Hayley Warren
    August 14, 2014 at 10:15 am

    This sounds amazing. Perfect for summer.

  • Honest Mum
    August 16, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Oh wonderful, love picking fruit and then baking and creating! Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays

  • Elizabeth
    August 29, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    What a gorgeous recipe! Such lovely berries to forage too. We used to go berry picking a lot when I was growing up. I always got stung by the wasps in the middle of the bramble patch though! I too love stewed fruits with yogurt, but I like your overnight oats in apple juice idea too. Nom! Thank you for sharing with Simple and in Season and Credit Crunch Munch 🙂

  • AMummyToo
    August 30, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Looks absolutely beautiful. I need to give this a try! Thanks so much for linking up with #recipeoftheweek. Sorry I was particularly slow getting over for this one. I’ve pinned it to my food board and a tweet will go out shortly 🙂

  • Rachel Walker
    September 6, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Living on a 4th floor London flat, I’m not so lucky to have a glut like that on my doorstep, but my mum (who lives in rural leicestershire) turned up with a litre ice cream tub filled with blackberries, so have been browsing for inspirations. Stewing with vanilla looks like a fine idea – thanks!

    • Jen Price
      September 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      That’s so lovely of your Mum to turn up with blackberries for you 🙂