Blackberries are instantly recognisable, and usually the first fruit that springs to mind when planning a foraging expedition.
Blackberries are high in vitamin C, and rich in bioflavonoids and antioxidants. They're also low in calories, so are a healthy choice for dessert – mix with other berries such a strawberries, raspberries and blueberries for a vitamin boost.
Blackberry puree is easy to make and can be added to ice cream, yoghurt, or meringues – or use as a topping on a vanilla cheesecake.
Make a simple blackberry fool by combining equal parts whipped double cream and thick Greek yoghurt with blackberry purée. Eton mess can be made in the same way – just leave out the yoghurt and add some crushed meringue. You can also stir blackberry purée into rice pudding – or even add it to your morning porridge!
You may not think to add blackberries to savoury dishes, but they can be tasty paired with pork, duck or pheasant. Or add a handful of berries to braised red cabbage for extra sweetness.
If you find you've gathered more berries than you can eat, try making blackberry liqueur. Rinse and dry 500g blackberries and put them in a large sterilised preserving jar. Add 250g sugar and 700ml cheap vodka or gin. Store in a cool dark place for three months, giving it a shake every now and then – if you make it in September it should be ready to drink by Christmas!
Bilberries can often be found growing in the UK's moors and woodlands in August and September. They thrive in acidic soil, so areas where you spot other acid-loving plants – heather or rhododendrons for example – are good places to search for bilberries.