Also known as brambles, blackberries are best enjoyed when plucked from wild hedgerows in late summer. Cultivated berries are available throughout the year, and America is one of the biggest exporters. Although they're large and glossy, the downside is that they can't compare to lush, intensely-flavoured wild berries from British hedgerows.
Once picked, you should either eat them straight away, or keep in the fridge for not longer than a day or so.
Blackberries and raspberries are often crossed to give other varieties - tayberries and loganberries.
IN THE KITCHEN
An English cream tea, at least in northern England, calls for a good dollop of bramble jelly to go with freshly-baked scones. Blackberry jelly, made with the sweetened strained juice, is more popular than the jam, which tends to be laden with seeds.
Apples are natural partners with blackberries, and often cooked together in pies, crumbles and cobblers. Tea, made from blackberry leaves is a digestive