Now, I tend to get excited about the elder trees in late spring, when their dusty, creamy flowers promise oodles of flavour to add to gin, vodka or cordial to name but a few. I have to admit that I didn’t even know that the berries were anything special, or even edible. I was brought up to be wary of berries that you weren’t 100% sure about, and although I loved eating sloes in front of school friends who were convinced that they were poisonous (along with pulling the flowers off dead nettles and chasing some of my more gullible class-mates), my knowledge of autumn’s berries didn’t extend much further than that.
Autumn is my favourite season. I know I’ve said that before, and I’ve said it about other seasons. But autumn is absolutely my favourite. It’s the time when you can see nature at work around you, busy with the last push of productivity before winter sets in. It’s a great time to get out and
nick gather or forage the wonderful goodies that nature puts out there for us. It seems that, for most people, foraging doesn’t really go beyond picking a few blackberries out of the hedges by the footpaths. But if you spent most of your childhood Octobers being dragged around the hedges looking for sloes and crab apples, you’ll be aware of how much more is out there. And I’m sure I only know a fraction of what’s available for the hard-core forager. Continue reading “We went a-foraging”
So, the feeling of spring is in the air. I remember writing that 6 months ago about the feeling of autumn, but unfortunately I haven’t really been able to write it about winter. Winter has been AWOL across the most of Europe this year: at my neck of the woods autumn has skipped straight over winter and into spring, following a pattern of seasons something like that suggested by the Pythons: Continue reading “Plums, the third.”
So, 4lb 12 oz mirabelle plums down, 7lb 12oz *insert species here* plums to go. (I’m not good on my plum species classification. We didn’t cover that at school…) They were that beautiful, well, plum, purple, flesh somewhere between yellow and green. But I’d had enough of jam-making for one week, so I had to find another option.
One of the things that I associate with autumn (albeit later autumn than this, normally straight after the first frost,) is Sloe Gin. Continue reading “Plums, the second.”