Lat week we went into the Derbyshire Peaks to pick Bilberries. I had spotted them while we were walking last November. Of course the berries only come out for July/August time, but I knew just what I was looking for. Three key things, purple heather, some greenery, and the small bushes where the bilberries grow close to the ground. Of course the North Yorkshire moors is full of this, but filled with bracken, probably due to over grazing. If sheep are left to graze at the wrong times they can completely devour the green plants which are so important.
The picture above shows my son picking them. Look closely at the type of bush they grow on. Our older children seemed to find the best ones straight away, and found that they were more in abundance where there was less sunlight, and more shade.
Of course they make a really nice dessert, however there are some extremely beneficial health qualities to these small berries. Very similar to the blueberry, but smaller, and a more distinct taste. These berries are excellent for circulation, and in particular varicose veins, and piles. The key is only a tiny sprinkling of sugar, and then cover with a sponge or crumble. I use less sugar, and brown, and I also blend wholemeal flour in. Also excellent for in your porridge. Much healthier than the anaemic packets that you microwave!
Look at pic below, and you will see the heather here. This is the sort of thing to look for. There were zillions of bees, a good sign, and they were obviously attracted by all the gorgeous heather!