August is known as blackberry harvest month, including in the dune area. In the dune, you will find mostly dewberries. The dewberry is delicious and slightly sweet in flavor due to the tremendous amount of sunshine in recent months. Will you come and taste them?

What should I pay attention to?
In the Noordhollands Duinreservaat (NHD) you may pick blackberries in August. Of course, to do this you will go off the roads and paths.During this month you may deviate from the access rule ”stay on roads and paths”. Preferably stay near the roads and paths, this way we avoid disturbance in our dune area. Dogs are and will not be allowed outside the paths, even if they are (briefly) leashed. The areas that are closed to the public remain closed and are therefore not accessible. There are plenty of brambles in the permitted areas.

Picking not allowed in infiltration areas
Blackberry picking is not allowed in the South Kennemerland National Park. Picking in the Noordhollands Duinreservaat is not allowed in the water catchment areas. These are infiltration area Castricum (iCas), through which the van Oldenborghweg runs, and infiltration area Kieftenvlak (iKief), around which there are fences and no-access signs. Here there are canals with drinking water. This water sinks through the sand package over three weeks and is thus purified of bacteria and viruses. With this open method of treatment, contamination, such as by human encroachment, is a risk to the drinking water chain.

To minimize the risk of contamination, sections of reeds are mowed in the infiltration area to create an open, clear area. That mowing may include cutting down blackberry bushes. This is unavoidable and necessary to provide North Holland with fresh and pure drinking water. There are plenty of blackberry bushes in other parts of the nature preserve, so everyone can enjoy this dark blue delicacy.

Eating blackberries
Our forest rangers often get questions about eating blackberries and the risk of fox tapeworm. Therefore, we always recommend that blackberries picked below knee height, which dogs or foxes may have urinated against, be thoroughly washed and/or boiled before consumption. Anything above knee height can already be consumed immediately.

Blackberry recipes
Blackberries are not only delicious raw, they are also worth cooking as juice, jam, processed in cakes or as a sweet sauce, among other things. Forester Ronald Slingerland previously wrote a blog about the blackberry, including his recipe for blackberry jam. Tip from forester Mirjam van der Kwast, who was previously a pastry chef: search old cookbooks for recipes using blackberries, surprisingly delicious creations can come out of this.

Did you know…
Looking at the flowers of the blackberry, you wouldn’t easily say they belong to the Rose family. Yet these deliciously sweet fruits, created after the flowers are pollinated and fertilized, are part of this family. Two species of blackberry are found in the North Holland Dune Reserve; the common blackberry and the dewberry. The common blackberry is most common in the Netherlands and can be recognized by the dark blue fruits that appear on the prickly stems in August and September. They are deliciously sweet and can be eaten both raw and processed. Dewberry, which is most common in the dunes and grows low to the ground, can also be eaten both raw and processed. The taste of the dewberry is a bit more acidic than the common blackberry and the fruits are a bit duller and smaller.

Don’t forget your bucket, protect yourself from the sun, enjoy the scenery and have fun picking!