Readers’ picks: 10 delicious blackberry recipes, from chilli chutney to jelly and wine

I’ve been making blackberry vodka for the past few years and found that you need a mix of small and large brambles to get a gorgeous blend of flavours. Fill an empty bottle with 300g sugar and as many blackberries as you can, top up with vodka and shake gently until the sugar is dissolved. Don’t bother with caster sugar, just shake the bottle for longer. Then leave for three to six months, agitating every now and again. When it’s ready, the vodka will have a vibrant purple hue. Taste to see if it’s sweet enough for you and add more sugar if necessary, then pour through muslin into smaller bottles. Eat the leftover, vodka-soaked blackberries with vanilla ice-cream. Piers Puntan, chartered chemical engineer, Hampshire

Simple dishes, such as baked apples, are always the best! Core cooking apples and score them around the middle. Place in a casserole, then pack blackberries into the empty core and top with a tiny sprinkle of sugar. Pour a cupful of water over the apples and bake slowly, at 170C, until tender. Serve with thick natural yoghurt. Heaven! Louise, Leicestershire

To make a blackberry jelly (or seedless jam), collect blackberries by the bucket, then stew with just a little water so that they don’t boil dry. Push the fruit through a sieve to remove the seeds; this leaves more texture than draining through muslin. Add 340g of sugar per pint of the resulting liquid and simmer at 105C. Store in sterilised jars. I make a year’s supply and use it daily. It’s the best flavour of any jam and tastes great in a smoothie. Peter Martin, smallholder, Brecon Beacons

Last summer, I made a few batches of blackberry wine using berries foraged from my allotment. The flavour is closest to a full-bodied red, but with an earthier and more subtle fruit flavour. I used 2kg of blackberries, 500g sugar, a jar of honey and an all-purpose wine yeast. I’d recommend soaking your blackberries for an hour beforehand in salty water to draw out any hidden insects, then rinse. Pass all the blackberries through a sieve, then heat in a pan to 88C. Add the sugar and honey and make up to four litres with cold water, then transfer to a fermenter (you can make a passable fermenter out of bits you might already have around the house). Once it’s cooled to room temperature, add the yeast and give it a good shake. Leave for two weeks before bottling, and then another two weeks (minimum) before drinking. Jack, IT consultant, Sheffield

My grandad always spent hours picking fruit, and he would make blackberry vinegar with the berries that weren’t quite perfect. Put the blackberries in a pan and cover with vinegar – he used distilled, but I use apple cider. Let them stand for at least a day before straining through muslin, no squeezing. Once you’ve got all the liquid out, stick it back in the pan with 200g sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for five minutes, then bottle. I use this for fancy salad dressings, and a glug goes well in chilled fizzy water (or beer); my grandad liked his served on a yorkshire pudding sprinkled with sugar, as a dessert. Lisa Volichenko, archeologist and vegan chef, Bradford

Combine one jar of blackberry jelly, 400g frozen blackberries and 2 heaped dessert spoons of cornflour to make the filling. Line a pie dish with shortcrust pastry, fill with the blackberry mix, then top with more pastry. Bake at 160C for 45 minutes, then leave to cool before consuming. Serve with custard, ice-cream or clotted cream. Keith Warwick, food and travel writer, Norwich

Finding myself with a surplus of jalapeño chillies and noticing that local blackberries were going largely untouched, I vowed to find a way to pair them. What emerged was a blackberry chilli chutney, which is fiery hot yet retains the rich, sweet taste of the blackberries. Served with cheese or cold meats, it’s rather unique. Heat chopped onion, carrots, bell peppers and blackberries with finely sliced chillies, garlic, ginger and maybe a few spices. Add lots of sugar and enough vinegar to get things going – I aim for a ratio of around 1kg of fruit/veg, to 350ml vinegar and 150g sugar – and some pectin to help it set if it’s too runny, then transfer to a jar. I’m down to my last jar now so looking forward to making a new batch soon. Neil Keeler, consultancy business owner, Essex

Empty a bottle of gin into an empty 2 litre milk carton, then add 350g blackberries (washed), 150g caster sugar and a vanilla pod. Store in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months to mature, shaking the carton daily until the sugar has dissolved. Then strain the fruit and the vanilla pod from the liqueur, and pour back into the gin bottle (you may have some leftover). It’s now ready to drink on its own, with lemonade or as part of a cocktail. You can also use the discarded fruit, with apples, to make jam. Sue Nicholson, retired, Tyneside

Blackberry season turns my homemade muesli recipe into a feast for the senses. Mix half a coarsely grated apple (with skin) with 1/2 cup good quality oats, 1/3 cup milk of your choice, 2 tablespoons nuts and seeds (a great combo is milled linseed, sunflower seeds and toasted flaked almonds), and a handful of blackberries. This recipe works with a range of fruits, but the sharp tones and varied textures of blackberries are a sublime match with the crisp apple, creamy oats and mealy nuts. You’ll feel totally set up for the day. Ruth Chamberlain, retired, Cardiff

Peel, core and slice 2-3 large bramley apples, and place in a pan with a little cold water and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes, then add a good handful of blackberries and stir. Then pour into a deep, oven-proof pudding bowl. Rub together 85g butter and 170g flour until it has a breadcrumb-like texture, then add 170g sugar and stir well. Pour over the apple mixture and pop in an oven at 190C for 40 minutes. Served with creme fraiche or, if you’re feeling indulgent, vanilla ice-cream or double cream. Gillian Rose, retired, Suffolk

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