Natures Bounty

I am far from a forager, I’m too lazy to scour the hedgerows for the ingredients for our table.

I love the idea of it, but not always the reality.
This year however it was impossible to ignore the bounty that Mother Nature provided for us.
Everywhere we looked there were natures delights just begging to be picked.
Here are some of the things we used these gifts of nature for.

Rosehip Syrup

This is a great Vitamin C and D boost during the winter months, a spoonful every morning should help ward off colds. It does contain a lot of sugar but one spoonful is all that’s needed.
You Will Need;
2x Large square of Muslin
500g Rosehips
250g of granulated sugar
Glass container with lid ( small Kilner jars are great)
Begin by sterilising the containers by washing in warm water, rinse and place in a low oven to dry
Roughly chop Rosehips in a food processor.
Put Rosehips in a saucepan and add 750ml of water.
Bring to the boil and then gently simmer for 15 mins.
Fold a muslin square in half, strain the liquid through the muslin, allow it to strain for at least 30 mins.
Fold second square and repeat straining.
Measure the strained liquid.
For every 250ml of liquid, add 160g of sugar.
Heat this slowly and stir to ensure sugar is dissolved.
Bring just up to the boil and simmer for 3 mins.
Pour into sterile jar and seal.
Will last for 4 months and refrigerate after opening.

This is delicious drizzled over pancakes or on some natural yoghurt also.

Sloe Gin

Now this is some foraging I can really get behind!!
You Will Need;
Large sealable container ( sterilised as above)
Reasonable quality gin

Gather enough sloes to half fill your container.
Pop the sloes in the freezer overnight, this helps to split the skins.
Put the sloes in the sterile container, add a few spoonfuls of caster sugar.
Top up with gin and seal.
Shake the continer once a day for the first week and once a week there after.
In two months ( just in time for Christmas) you can enjoy the fruits of your labour!

Blackberry Everything;

There is no limit to the uses of blackberries. We have been gathering them for weeks now and have used them in;
Pavlova; using the berries as filling and also beating them into the cream to give a beautiful finish ( eaten too quickly to photograph)
Crumble; use with apples for a lovely Autumn dessert
Pancakes; can be served with blackberries or the berries can be added to the batter when cooking.
Sponge; A duck egg sponge with a blackberry and cream filling is heaven on a plate.
In almost any recipe that calls for blueberries, blackberries can be used in their place……the possibilities are endless.
Blackberries freeze well so store them to use over the winter.
Hope you try some of the above and I would love to hear how you get one.

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