Picking Wimberries

It is around the first couple of weeks in August that wimberries or bilberries (Empetraceae) are ready for picking. These are wild berries found on moorland and mountains across a lot of Wales and uplands in England and Scotland. Wimberries look like small blueberries but are less juicy and more acidic, though just about sweet enough to eat raw. They grow on a low scrubby plant making them pretty hard to find but once you have found a patch you keep it secret and go and visit it every year.
The great thing about the patch we know about is that it is about 45 minutes walk from where you have to park the car and the walk across Llangorse Mountain is one of the best around Gliffaes anyway. Nine of us set out on Sunday afternoon armed with three very useful’ berry combs’. These tools enable you to pick berries pretty quickly and don’t damage the plants. You can buy these combs from Ray Mear’s website.
Between the nine of us we took it in turns to pick berries and ended up with about 9lbs of berries in an hour. After carrying them home and then picking the leaves and twigs and giving them a careful rinse it was time to make Wimberry Pie. Susie has perfected the recipe; short crust pastry, plenty of wimberries and a good dose of black current liquor or cassis. Served hot with plenty of cream it went down very well in the dining room over the next two evenings.