Foraging Autumn Hedgerows

Country walks are at their most enjoyable in the autumn, when the hedgerows are full of berries and fruit to be foraged.

Created by Martyn Loach on Wednesday, 3rd of September, 2014.
Updated on Wednesday, 2nd of December, 2015.


There's a bountiful supply of damsons, sloes and blackberries, just ready to be collected and transformed into something delicious.

Damson Jam

Often ignored, this compact fruit packs quite a punch, and makes the best jam you will ever taste. The one problem is their stones. These can either be extracted from the individual fruits before starting the jam or fished out when the jam is simmering. Both methods are rather painstaking and messy.

Take 6lbs of damsons and simmer them in a steel (not aluminium pot) with a small amount of water until soft. Don't overcook, it's preferable to have little chunks of fruit in the jam, a lot tastier than the over processed supermarket product.

Warm 4lbs of sugar (commercial jam is usually 50/50 fruit and sugar, but I find that too sweet) and add to the fruit. Continue cooking on a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Now turn the heat up to maximum and boil for ten minutes.

Spread a little jam on a cold plate, let it cool and, if a crinkled skin forms, the jam is ready. If not continue to boil for a few minutes and test again. When it's ready, let the jam cool and pour in jars that have been sterilized.

Sloe Gin

You have to possess some patience with this recipe, it's a slow sloe process.

Beware when you are picking sloes as the blackthorn bush lives up to its name, your hands may resemble pin cushions afterwards. The sloes should be ripe not hard and they are ready to harvest in October, perhaps after the first frost that many people believe improves their flavour.

Prick the sloes so that their juices can be released and fill a kilner jar that's been sterilized. Dissolve caster sugar in gin or vodka to the ratio of about 1 to 4 and pour into the jar. Close and shake. Place the jar in a cool cupboard or dark place.

For the first seven days shake the jar daily, then only once a week for a minimum of eight weeks, preferably twelve. When you can't wait any longer strain the liquid through muslin into sterilized bottles.

It will be drinkable but will greatly improve in flavour if left for a few months.

Bramble Jelly

Due to the amount of seeds found in blackberries, jelly can be preferable to jam.

Place about 2lbs of blackberries in a heavy non-aluminium saucepan with a little water and simmer for 25 minutes, mashing the fruit to get all the goodness out. Sieve the mixture through muslin into a bowl, using a wooden spoon to squeeze out all the liquid or, if you want the jelly crystal clear, let it drip through overnight.

For every pint of liquid add ¾lb of sugar (depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have). Simmer while dissolving the sugar, this should take about 15 minutes. Then boil for about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring. Check whether it will set in the same way as jam and bottle in airtight sterilized jars.

For products related to the season of mellow fruitfulness visit the GardenSite Autumn Gardening Shop.

Related Articles

Jamie Oliver Launches His Kitchen Garden Project For UK Primary Schools

Jamie Oliver Launches His Kitchen Garden Project For UK Primary Schools

Jamie Oliver launches his Kitchen Garden Project to meet the needs of the new compulsory food education curriculum. Nathan James Dodd finds out how schools can get involved.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Thursday, 4th of December, 2014.

How To Store And Preserve Fruit And Vegetables

How To Store And Preserve Fruit And Vegetables

In the autumn, when there is a glut of vegetables on the Martyn Loach's allotment or if the apple harvest has been good or you've been collecting fruit while out walking, you may have to store fresh produce or conserve it in some way.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Wednesday, 19th of August, 2015.

Foraging For Fungi

Foraging For Fungi

Foraging has now become so popular that a national newspaper publishes a column on the subject. Martyn Loach says this isn't surprising as foraging for mushrooms is free and your harvest can be extremely tasty.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Wednesday, 26th of August, 2015.

What Do Hedgehogs Eat In Your Garden?

What Do Hedgehogs Eat In Your Garden?

Do you love hedgehogs? Gardeners are supposed to love hedgehogs because they voraciously eat large quantities of slugs and snails. However recent research indicates that this might not be the case.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 24th of January, 2014.

comments powered by Disqus

RSS

View RSS Feed

Author

Martyn Loach

Editor in Chief

View Profile

Follow Us!

Tags

Recent Articles

Poinsettias Now Available From Our Garden Centre

Poinsettias Now Available From Our Garden Centre

With Christmas rapidly approaching, our New Oscott Garden Centre has just taken delivery of that most seasonal of plants – the Poinsettia. These are David Hall's tips on to how to keep these beautiful plants at their colourful best.

Author: David Hall

Written by David Hall.
Published on Thursday, 8th of December, 2016.

GardenSite Donates Christmas Tree To Hospice

GardenSite Donates Christmas Tree To Hospice

Our garden centre has been part of the local community for over 60 years, so when one of our partners, David Coton, received a request to donate a Christmas tree to a nearby hospice, he had no hesitation in helping them out.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Wednesday, 7th of December, 2016.

How To Choose A Real Christmas Tree

How To Choose A Real Christmas Tree

Many people believe that Christmas would not have the same festive feel without the scent of a 'real' Christmas tree. They're naturally fresh, giving off a lovely aroma, and here Martyn Loach gives advice on which ones to buy..

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Tuesday, 6th of December, 2016.

Premier Christmas Lights

Premier Christmas Lights

There's a huge selection of Premier Christmas Lights, and it's no wonder why they are market leaders judging by the variety and innovation that's on offer. This is Andy Taylor's guide to their range of top quality lights and decorations.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Monday, 28th of November, 2016.