wild billberries by paul cotter

Wild billberries (fraughans)

These little berries are ingrained in my childhood memories as being little juicy delicious balls of sweetness coming into season in July/ August. They are found to me in marsh land, roadsides and forestry trails. They make beautiful jam and are best served simply with a dollop of cream and a sprinkling of sugar. But enough of the anecdotes.

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Bilberries 

They found growing in acidic hilly ground throughout ireland. They are best described as a wild blueberry.

They begin to flower mid to late summer. The flower looks like a little red lantern not much bigger than a pea

They are ripe for the picking at the moment varying in size from bush to bush depending on the age of the bush and if you get there before the birds do. Average size again is about the size of a blueberry.

They are ripe for the picking at the moment varying in size from bush to bush depending on the age of the bush and if you get there before the birds do. Average size again is about the size of a blueberry.

They are ripe for the picking at the moment varying in size from bush to bush depending on the age of the bush and if you get there before the birds do. Average size again is about the size of a blueberry.

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What can I do with these

There are a variety of recipes out there for billberries from jams to fools even a bilberry gin

Jam recipe

750 g bilberries

750g sugatr

* Wash and dry all the berries ensuring to remove any stalks

* Place into a wide based pot on a medium to low heat

* Allow water to start to evaporate

* Add sugar and allow to dissolve and come to the boil

* Allow to simmer for 15 mins

* Allow to cool

* Pour into clean dry jars cover when cold.

Enjoy with toast or some homemade brown bread

 

Coming next are blackberries and the berry from the hawthorn (sloe) and of course elderberries watch this space for more information and pictures. Also Twitter and Instagram @chefpaulc

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