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On our first foraging trip we collected elderberries and now have some wine fermenting away. Next came a hunt for sloes and to be honest they weren’t hard to find. Back to the same hedgerow that was packed with elderberries and there they were the plump, dark berries, just waiting to be picked.
And it wasn’t long before we had a couple of pounds in the tub.
Also known as blackthorn the sloe is a predecessor of the cultivated plum but is extremely bitter until mixed with sugar and gin to make one of my favourite winter drinks, sloe gin. You should pick sloes after the first frost (which was this morning in our case) but you can replicate this by putting them in the freezer. Then take a pound of sloes (prick them to help release their flavour), about half a pound of sugar and half fill your bottles topping up with gin until almost full, then seal. Leave for a couple of months, turning the bottles every now and then to mix up the ingredients. Perfect for a Christmas tipple!!
Here’s some tips on making sloe gin. Enjoy!
With Autumn now well and truly underway we’ve taken our first tentative steps into the world of foraging. To celebrate this new pastime I’ve got one of the classic guide books to give away. “Food for Free” by Richard Mabey, an illustrated guide to over 100 edible plants, berries, mushrooms, seaweed and shellfish, was first published in 1972 and is probably the best known guide book in its field. And the great thing is it’s pocket-sized, easy to take with you when you’re out and about.
All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, my daughter Chloe will draw a winner in a couple of weeks time, and I’ll post it out. Totally free, as simple as that. I look forward to hearing from you!
I mentioned in my last post that this blog would start to diversify a little as the garden winds down for the winter. One of the things I’ve been interested in for a while now is foraging. Now I’m not talking running the gaunlet with wild mushrooms just yet but simple “get out into the fresh air and fill up some plastic tubs with stuff” type foraging.
So off we went for a drive and stopped in the first likely looking spot by a track alongside a lovely looking hedgerow.
Chloe spotted them first, although Emily didn’t seem too interested……….
Whilst the girls sat down to share the blackberry spoils I went about stripping a couple of kilos of elderberries from the hedge. A batch of wine was the goal, more on that next time.
We spotted a nice patch of teasels and lots of sloes and rosehips we’ll be back for.
On the veg plot I decided to tackle the front bed which I’ve been neglecting for a while. The sprouting broccoli are getting quite large now so I earthed them up and staked them to protect from rocking. This year I’m growing early white and late purple varieties. The sweetcorn came out, I’ll be growing more next year as it was superb. The last of the cabbages will make some more coleslaw.
Still not sure what I’m doing with the celery, it must be a self-blanching variety as it tastes quite good.
I tidied up the brussels and picked the first handful which the girls loved with their roast dinner. Elsewhere in the garden I belatedly staked the raspberry canes, took out the sweet peas and red orach and started to pot up 120 strawberry plants! After which I deserved a sit down with a beer. More foraging and brewing to come!