Food in Abundance!

We had a great day foraging, really lovely bunch of people.  Lots of wild food to sample – lots of berries – fat hawthorn, rosehips, guilder rose, rowan, sloes (not many elderberries, but they are in abundance elsewhere).  Many apples on the ground surrounding the big old crab.  Enought mulberries for everyone to get a tiny tatste.  Some people even managed to find hazel nuts despite the squirrels.

Loads of spring greens coming again for a second time – sheep sorrel, dandelion, garlic mustard, nettles, chickweed even cow parsley and hog weed.

Steph brough along her elderberry cordial and also shared her secret receipe

Ingredients

Ilb fruit, (blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, elderberries (pull the berries off the stems with a fork, cherries or whatever)

Quarter pint water

Sugar (see below for quantity}

 

To make

Boil the fruit gently in the water until very soft.

Strain though a nylon sieve or muslin

Measure the juice

Add 8oz sugar to each pint of juice. When the sugar has dissolved, heat the syrup but do not boil.

Heat the jars. Clean the lids with boiling water.

Put the hot syrup in the hot jars, filling nearly to the top and put the lids on loosely.

 

To sterilise

Stand the jars in a deep pan of water on several thicknesses of cloth or a rack

Bring slowly to simmering point (80 degrees c) taking about an hour to do this. Do not boil. Keep at this temperature a further 20 minutes

Lift out carefully, stand on a wooden surface, tighten the lids.

 

To use

Drink diluted with water, hot or cold, fizzy or still.

Mix with vodka

Pour over your porridge, muesli, rice pudding or icecream.

 

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Autumn Food Forage

It seemed such a long way away when we first planned it, but the Wild Food Walk for Trasnition Chesterfield is coming up fast next week.  I am taking care to particularly make a mental note of the things that I will expect to find, so that when I do a recc-y I will be able to work out a route quite fast.

I know for certain, that as with other years, the Horseradish that is growing wild in the park, will ‘just happen’ to be mown down just before the walk and all that will be in evidence will be a few tattered leaves.  However, if you manage to coem across some (and you have permission from the landowner) to dig it up, this is what you can do with it.

Grate a chunk of horseradish and mix it with whipped cream, adding a little salt, pepper and mustard powder.  Use with beef as you would horseradish sauce.

Blackberries (2)

Well, I don’t think I have ever seen so many blackberries as there are this year, nor seen them quite so early.  They are treuly fabulous!  All the food pages in the press are raving about them and rightly so.  Sharon and I went with kids and many containers of various shapes and sizes and picked and picked and picked.  I now have a freezer full (waiting on making wine) and Sharon made pies and crumbles and gave many to friends and neighbours.

This is Steph’s precious Blackberry Wine receipe and she swears by it.  Can’t wait to try it out, but as I’ve never made wine, I’m going to wait until after Transition Chesterfield’s wine making workshop.

4lb blackberries

3lb sugar

1 gallon water

Plus yeast nutrient and pectic enzyme.

Place fruit in bucket and crush.  Pour over boiling water, stir well and allow to become luke warm, add pectic enzyme and 1 day later yeast and nutrient.  Cover and leave for 4 – 5 days, stirring daily.  Strain through fine sieve / muslim onto 3lb sugar.  Stir well until all dissolved.  Pour into fermenting jar and fit airlock.  Leave until clear and then rack.

I’m sure all you wine makers out there will know what all this means!!  Have fun