Autumn Foraging Notes

Another thing I enjoy at this time of year is gathering all that the hedgerows have to offer, to make into lovely jams, jellies, syrups and pickles. The kitchen has never been used so much in the past few weeks!

After making some chutneys as reported in previous posts, I’ve also tried my hand at jams and jellies. The abundance of blackberries we have (garden and hedgerow) has been excellent for stocking up our storecupboard with jars of jam and blackberry liquer (looking forward to tasting that!). Some elderberries may have found their way in too! I gathered some rowan berries the other week also, to turn into jelly. The juice has been extracted (although couldn’t resist squeezing the bag to get more juice, oh well, cloudy jelly), and just have to boil up with some sugar to make the jelly. I’m told this is good with game, particularly venison, one of my faves.

Damson gin is also happily getting ready for Christmas (although perhaps not this year). I have tried two recipes, so after some no doubt enjoyable tastings, will let you know which one is best. A few of you may be thinking this is normally made with sloes, but again I am told damson gin is a worthy alternative.

Talking of sloes, I finally found some in the hedgerows last night (whilst on a lovely evening walk). They are very soft and squidgy so will be excellent for gin, but now I have damson on the go I might try and do something else with the sloes. Any ideas? They are in the freezer at the moment, so we will see what they look like when they come out.

The other thing I spied last night that I would like to make use of is lots of lovely rosehips. I’ll be going back shortly to gather some for syrup. This will be good to have in the cupboard for winter colds etc, as is packed with Vitamin C!