Les mûres sur les murs sont mûres…

…is a mnemonic providing  a very good example of homophones whilst confirming the lack of prejudice, lexicographic or otherwise, on this blog. It came to mind when I noticed that blackberries were suddenly in profusion, not so much on the walls, but very definitely in the bushes of La Moussiere.

Blackberries 1La Moussiere3357aug11 copy

These wonderful looking fruit demand to be picked. I have often wondered about the attritional nature of wild berry picking to foraging pioneers over the millenia and the scattered host of  corpses, with carmine stained lips and fingers, that must have littered the lanes and hedgerows as a result of their, often, fatal choices. Blackberries look too good to be true, when they are in their pomp, and I am eternally grateful to those early foragers for their daredevil efforts which allow me to safely plunder the laden bushes that surround our home.


My berry foraging is, more often than not, without true purpose. Out of the corner of my eye I may notice the glossy roundness of a fat, ripe blackberry. I’ll stop, pick it and eat it and quite a few more of them if the brambles aren’t too annoying. As I’m eating them I’ll be asking myself why I have nothing, such as a basket, in which to collect some berries to take home. Once I’ve eaten my fill, or my attention has been taken by something else, the lack of a basket becomes a positive advantage. The blackberries that arrive in my kitchen are not from my hedgerows but from the rows of fruit in the market that someone, who knows his berries far better than I, has taken the time to gather with selective care rather than spontaneous pleasure as his prime purpose. I have made blackberry and apple things and tarts and cakes and slices with blackberries but I think I enjoy them most directly from the bush or chilled and macerated in a glass of Crème de Mûre.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, Baking, blackberries, Blackberrying, brambles, Cooking, desserts, Drinks, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, French countryside, Fruit, Humour, Markets, Photography, photography course, Vendee, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Les mûres sur les murs sont mûres…

  1. Mmmm. Those blackberries look delicious! Berry picking does tend to end up being more for right-this-moment snacking than waiting to eat them later. They always just look too good to keep from eating right away!

  2. My berry picking tends to be more impromptu, as well. End up just eating most of them, which is fine! Love the freshness of macerating in cold Crème de Mûre.

  3. Absolutely! I feel that cooking fresh berries a crime. 🙂 I also just eat them fresh off the plants when the vitamin C is 99.9% intact. I would bake only with accidently spoiled fruit. Macerating berries in liqueur sounds good!

  4. Misky says:

    I always pick berries from bushes and brambles along the path where I walk my dog. I’m careful to pick only those beyond reach of a dog’s lifted leg though.

  5. Mad Dog says:

    I often think the same – imagine all those poison mushrooms for starters. Good job they’d tested and approved blackberries by the time I was old enough to pick them 😉

  6. Vicki says:

    I always carry a plastic rubbish bag folded up in the side pocket of my camera bag (or jacket in winter). Comes in useful for shells down the beach, but in your case, it would come in useful for carrying wild blackberries home.

    When I was small another family (and ours) would always go blackberry picking in summer. My Mother would spend hours bottling and making jam etc. then we would have them (and veg from our garden) all winter.

  7. One summer, I think I picked 50 pounds of wild blackberries in the mountains. Took days to get the stains off my fingers………

    We made blackberry liqueur with some of the haul. Have you ever considered that?

  8. I always appreciate fruit that’s hard won. Pomegranates and brambles in particular. So pretty, Roger.

  9. Oh, this brings back memories of picking blackberries in Oregon! My mom was sure I’d get sick, but it didn’t happen. Bliss.

  10. Great post! Speaking of homophones there was a teacher last week who did a lesson on homophones and the principal didn’t get what homophones are and thought the teacher was promoting a homosexual lifestyle! It’s a nutty world.

  11. Lori M-I says:

    I have the same delicious issue with black-cap raspberries that grow on my property. =)

  12. margaret21 says:

    Seriously? You’re not integrated if you don’t have a ‘au cas où’ bag with you at all times, just in case of blackberries, walnuts, mushrooms….. But are yours OK? In the South of France, where we were, they were too small, too sweet: a real disappointment to those of us raised on rugged, juicy, sweet-yet-acidic berries. I’m longing for ours to ripen up… a few more days yet……

  13. Michelle says:

    Sadly, our bad winter killed off all the fruit-bearing canes. Steve got a handful to sprinkle over his yogurt and nothing else this year (after pounds and pounds and pounds last summer). Beautiful photos, but that’s a given.

  14. Literally “fingerfood” , picked and going right into the mouth is the most pleasure. Do you a lso have wild strawberries, the tiny ones, growing wild, the have the most intense aroma. By the way what is Crème de Mure, something I am missing out?

  15. ChgoJohn says:

    Along the way to Michigan, Roger, there are many “U Pick Em” farms, each offering a variety of fruits at greatly reduced prices. All you need do is go out into the fields/orchards and gather them. I’ve never gone because I fear the embarrassment of returning to the counter, hours later, with nary a berry in my basket but with face, hands, and shirt badly stained.

  16. brincs says:

    Lovely photos as usual

  17. they look divine, I am thinking of when I used to collect them as a twelve year old, construct punnets of them and try (unsuccessfully) to sell them to neighbours. So I would take them home instead an my mother would make fruit tarts with them. Thanks for bringing back my memories

  18. In Spain they never make it home – also they’re really small and tend to dry out if you don’t pick them soon enough. In England they’re bigger and more abundant but like you I mainly prefer to leave the work to others and enjoy them in a glass of liqueur!

  19. Oh my, I can almost taste them!

  20. EllaDee says:

    Mmmm sun warm blackberries straight off the bush… a lovely country childhood memory for me, and an occasional grown up one. Now the bushes are treated as a noxious plant, and unless growing on private property and sometimes even then, they are sprayed with poison. What annoys me more is that where there are now no blackberry bushes along roadsides because of this, there is rampant lantana which is noxious with no redeeming berry features.

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