Posts Tagged ‘bramble’

Autumn Recipes: Hedgerow Jelly

September is only just upon us and in Glasgow it feels resolutely autumnal already. A quick walk in the park today turned up plenty of Rowan, ripening Hawthorn and Bramble and some fantastic polypore mushrooms (great cooked with garlic on toast). I also finally found my local Yarrow supply which has been hiding all year and is just perfect to dry right now – fully in flower with great, fluffy-spiked leaves.Autumn FruitsAs it’s a Sunday, it was the ideal time for a trip to the country park and Finlaystone was full of stinky herbal delights – Figwort and Wood Betony were both in acrid abundance. I also added a large haul of windfall apples from a secret location off the Hillington industrial estate – thankfully my kind runner friends keep a look-out for interesting trees whilst they’re pacing the pavements and pointed me in the right direction.

One down side is that the Elderberries are taking their time this year – I managed to snaffle about a dozen berries on my way back from the shops, but the rest have a good couple of weeks before they’re ready. In the meantime, a very vague Autumnal recipe to use now or at least soon…

Hedgerow Jelly

Stuff you find in hedges, in a condiment – it’s important to get plenty of pectin in to set the jelly so make sure to have loads of crab apples, about the same weight as the total of the rest of your hedgerow fruits.

First of all, collect some rosehips, brambles, rowan berries, plums (other recipes says sloes, you are mad to use the rare Glasgow sloes for anything other than gin) and plenty of crab apples.

  •     Chop everything up a bit and put it in a pan with just enough water to cover the fruit
  •     Simmer until it’s a juicy mess
  •     Strain through a jelly bag and leave overnight
  •     Put the juice in a pan and heat
  •     When hot, add sugar (500g for every 600ml of juice), dissolve and keep heating
  •     Boil until it sets – test for this after 10 minutes, then at 5 minute intervals
  •     Pour in to sterilised containers

Eat during the year with meat, cheese and in sandwiches.

Things to consider:

  •    You can use cooking apples instead of crab apples
  •    If you squeeze the jelly bag too much the final result will be cloudy, but there will be more of it.
  •    The easiest way to find the “setting point” is to pour a little bit of the mixture on to a fridge-cold plate or saucer. Then let it cool and push your finger through – if the surface wrinkles, you are at the setting point. If not, keep boiling for another 5 minutes and try again.

I can also heartily recommend the Haw-Sin sauce recipe to use your Hawthorn berries when they ripen.

 

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Autumn Foraging – Berries & Brambles

Autumn is upon us, the nights are drawing in, which means there are lots of plants to forage before the Winter cold really hits. I’ve been out and about gathering for the Neilston Food Trail and this week found the Brambles (Rubus fructicosus or Blackberries, they’re definitely brambly here) have just started to ripen.

Bramble / Blackberry foraging is extremely satisfying, you can try as you pick, get purple dyed fingers and you don’t really have to process them if you don’t want to / can’t be bothered. There are dozens of recipes for sweet bramble treats like jam, crumble and muffins – so I decided to take a more savoury angle this year and try some bramble vinegar.

Bramble Vinegar Recipe

This is a really simple recipe, which just needs a bit of time. It also works well with raspberries – a couple of late ones sneaked their way into this batch.

Soak 450g washed brambles in 600ml white wine vinegar for 3-5 days.

Strain the mixture through a muslin or jelly bag for up to 12 hours – get out all the juices but none of the pulp.

Heat the liquid with ½ lb sugar to every ½ pint of liquid until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes, cool and store in clean bottles.

Use in salad dressings, with honey as a marinade for meat or with hot water as a drink for colds.

Other berries coming up this month include Elderberry; Hawthorn berry; Rosehip & Juniper with the Ground Elder having a re-growth as we speak and loads of roots to take advantage of – they’ll have stored up goodness for the plant for Winter and as long as you do it responsibly and with permission, you can pick a few here and there. Ask someone if you can dispose of a few of their Dandelions or if you’re lucky, find someone with first year Burdock.