Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Brambles and Crumbles

Speaking of Apple Pie with Birds Custard as I did the other day, reminded me of the delights of  Blackberry and Apple Pie, or Blackberry and Apple Crumble  -  home-made by our Mum, or by our sister Maureen.

Scarcely over a mile from our home was a semi rural enclave within the City of Bristol.  It was and is known as "Clay Bottom" (bu it is now "developed"),

Back then we would wander up to Clay Bottom when the Brambles were loaded with entirely sweet and juicy wild black berries,

If we hadn't gorged ourselves whilst harvesting, there would be sufficient berries to take home to become part of a pie or a crumble.

We'd do the same in other rural or semi rural areas on the outskirts of Bristol.

Bramble with  Berries

Blackberry and Apple Crumble. (Served in our home with a generous helping of hot Birds Custard.)


I hope that rural England still has hedgerows with brambles, and free for the picking blackberries.

My brother Martyn and his wife will certainly remember the trip we took to rural Brittany in 1995, with their daughter Laura and our Mum and Step-dad.

I will draw a discrete veil over our horrendous journey from Calais  (?)  to the cottage we had rented, when we could not find the cottage because a local bridge was "out", and that when we eventually found the tiny lane which led up to our cottage I reversed into Martyn's  Company owned car.  You don't need to know about that,

But I will tell you that the next morning we found ("Oh Joy, Oh Bliss") some fruit laden brambles just outside the cottage,


In SRQ and other places the local markets sell cultivated blackberries.  They look good, but for flavour and juiciness they are not a patch on their wild cousins.  They have been so hybridized and standardized that they look like the wild original, but are tasteless and have no  juiciness.

I feel the same way about Strawberries.  Not far from SRQ is a town called Plant City.  It is the centre of the Florida Strawberry agribusiness. 

Every year, and in harvesting  time, our local supermarkets advertise with banner headlines and a profligate use of exclamation marks (!!!!!!)  that they are selling "Plant City Strawberries".

We are thus encouraged to rush to the market to buy these "delicacies".

"We", but not "I",  

For although the berries look good, packed as they are "pointy end up", upon opening the package it is to discover that the stem end is not yet ripe, and  that these alleged strawberries have no good flavour, no grand taste, and that they are utterly devoid of juice,


"Plant City" strawberries look like the right thing.  But they taste like ....... (please use your own word")

I'll most likely be expelled from Florida for saying this, but nevertheless I assert that "Plant City Strawberries" are a faux version of the real thing.


It's like this:  You can dress up a Chevy to look like a Mercedes, but it will still be a Chevy.


I love being a curmudgeon!


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