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It's blackberry picking time here at Knepp and our livestock manager Patrick Toe has observed that our bushes are particularly heavy with berries this year. We decided to make use of this foraged fruit with a blackberry sauce recipe.

The Knepp Wilding Kitchen uses foraged wild ingredients to embellish many of our dishes (all subject to our foraging guidelines) and we’ve been serving a delectable cake made with blackberries in the café. These nutritious and delicious berries also make a great match with meat in a savoury sauce.

Knepp’s livestock manager Patrick Toe said, “In all my years at Knepp in the southern block blackberries have always been prodigious in number, but incredibly mean in size and sweetness and juiciness. They’ve always been not worth the picking.”

However this season, he has noticed some “real clonkers, real warriors of blackberries”. It is not clear why exactly – perhaps the bushes are of a particular age now, or they are less predated at the moment (thanks birds!), but it has certainly been a good growing year for this hedgerow harvest.

In a short video for the Wilding Kitchen’s Instagram, Patrick described how in his most recent blackberry harvest he “got pudding for the family tonight and then some. And like our beef, it’s probably amazingly nutritionally dense. Gorgeous!”

This got the Wilding Kitchen team thinking about just how good a match blackberry is with beef, and other red meat such as venison or duck.

Our venison will be available again to buy online soon and it will make the perfect match with this sauce, but the sauce also goes well with roast beef. If you are not ready to cook it right away, collect up blackberries in batches and store them in the freezer until you are.

Blackberry sauce recipe

Makes about 250ml

Ingredients

500g blackberries

100ml red wine vinegar

generous pinch salt

1½ tsp brown sugar (or to taste)

¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 cloves

pinch freshly ground nutmeg

1 cinnamon stick

Method

Clean the blackberries under cold running water in a colander and remove any stems. Put in a saucepan with 100ml water and the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Simmer for about 15 minutes, pressing down the blackberries to break them up – watch out if you use a wooden spoon for this as you might find it dyed purple!

Keep simmering until the liquid has reduced by about half, continuing to press down the blackberries to break them up. Taste and add another pinch of sugar if the sauce needs it.

Either bottle up the sauce as is for a thick and rustic finish (as in the photo) discarding the cinnamon stick and cloves. Or for a smoother finish, press the sauce through a fine strainer.

Our 12+ Policy

Knepp Wildland Safaris and campsite are all about the quiet and patient observation of nature.

Some of the species we are likely to encounter are shy or can be frightened by loud noises or sudden movements. Our campsite with open-air fire-pits, wood-burning stoves and an on-site pond is unsuitable for small children.

For this reason, our safaris, holiday cottages and campsite are suitable only for children of 12 and over.

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