F is for …

August 8, 2011 at 10:20 pm 18 comments

… forager.

I love making preserves and I love using foraged ingredients most of all.
Although I live in a City I don’t have to look very hard to find free fruit – in fact it tends to find me when I’m not even looking for it.  On my lunchtime walk today around the housing estate near work I picked these cherry plums – just a handful as most had fallen to the ground weeks ago (what a shame July went by in a flash and I’ve missed filling buckets full of cherry plums from my usual foragers paradise).  Other potential treasures entwined in the hedgerows were blackberry brambles and cobnuts.  Back on the business park the crab apple trees and roseship bushes I raided last year are heavily laden with fruit again.

We also have these lovely sweet greengages in the kitchen at the moment.  I can’t claim to have foraged these since Henri first asked if I’d like some and then proceeded to fill a bag himself for me from the tree shading his plot.  As I can never say no to free produce and Henri can never heed ‘no more, there’s only 2 of us’ I shall have to think about what I’m going to turn my fruit bowl full of greengages into.

A quick glance through my archives reveals how frequently foraged food has formed the basis of a preserve recipe experiment.  So if you’re looking for ideas about how to use up a whole variety of windfalls, berries or nuts…
Applesbaked, juices and jellies, chutney,
Blackberriescordial, jelly,
Crab applesjellies, pickled,
Damsonschutney, cordial, jam, muffins,
Elderberriesjelly
Hazelnuts honeyed
Haw berries – ketchup
Rosehips syrup
Sloesgin

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Entry filed under: A-Z challenge, home life.

E is for … G is for …

18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mal  |  August 8, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Food For Free!

    Reply
  • 2. Julie  |  August 9, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Free food is indeed a wonderful thing. Our neighbours gave us loads of rhubarb yesterday and it’s already been turned into rhubarb and ginger jam and a rhubarb crumble. Roll on sloe berry season!

    Reply
  • 3. Nic's Husband  |  August 9, 2011 at 7:51 am

    F is for Food – didn’t need to think hard about today’s word!

    Reply
  • 4. greg becker  |  August 9, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Nice Word forager! Greengage suggestion – Jam

    Reply
  • 5. Maureen  |  August 9, 2011 at 11:34 am

    well foraged! I have been meaning to show you the local mulberry but visited yesterday and it is looking very poorly… very sad

    Reply
  • 6. zebthebaker  |  August 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Lovely! I have never yet managed to find some crab apples and I would love to make that jelly that I remember from my childhood. We still have cherry plums on the dog walking field, I met a family scrambling up to the top to get the last few perfect ones just now. Thank goodness I nearly always have a bag in my pocket when I am out I can’t resist either…. I tasted my one and only bottle of Pontack sauce the other day, two years old now, still pretty sharp.

    Love greengage jam too! 🙂

    Reply
  • 7. Joanna  |  August 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Most mysterious why did I turn into zebthebaker then it was me anyway x

    Reply
  • 8. Janet/Plantaliscious  |  August 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I love the idea of foraging, but apart from blackberrying never seem to manage to make the time to do it. You put me to shame!

    Reply
  • 9. Nip it in the bud  |  August 9, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Mal – I’ve got the book too!

    Julie – G is crazy about our rhubarb patch and has just made his first ever batch of wine using it. Time will tell what it tastes like but it’s a fab colour. I don’t think I’ll make sloe gin again since I don’t drink it – makes for an expensive experiment!

    G – my food monster and fan of fish finger sandwiches.

    Greg – I made some plum jam last week which quickly burnt to the bottom of the pan so I suspect we may just munch our way through them!

    Maureen – poor sad mulberry bush. I like the idea of trading foraging hotspots though ;o)

    Joanna – I wondered if it was Brian after his success with you loaf last week. Heaps of crab apples here – another reason for a visit to Gloucestershire :o)

    Janet – there’s all sorts you can do with blackberries so great that you have some of them.

    Reply
    • 10. greg becker  |  August 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      Also had the plum jam burnt saucepan, but there are too many greengages to eat, so as we live in london we might make a barricade out of them.

      Reply
  • 11. Jasmin  |  August 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    This reminds me of that wonderful post you did a while ago. You and G went for a bike ride and ask the lady if you could pick apples from her tree. Such a heart-warming tale of old-fashioned adventure and kindness! x

    Reply
  • 12. Nip it in the bud  |  August 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Greg – greengage jam cooling on the side as I type (and with only minimal caramelising on the bottom of the pan – perhaps following a recipe helped whereas the plums were just out of the freezer and sweetened to taste.)

    Jas – well remembered, it was this post and I made heaps of cordial and chutney with those wonderful apples.

    Reply
  • 13. greg becker  |  August 10, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Well done, I recommend trying plum and pear jam or plum and apple (sometimes called dumpsey dearie), it takes away some of the heavy plum taste and gives a lighter, softer taste. Whereas greengage is all the nicer for being sweet & sticky.

    Reply
    • 14. Nip it in the bud  |  August 11, 2011 at 8:33 am

      mmm sounds like a top tip. I think pears should be a fruit I experiment with more! The only time I remember to eat pears is when I have a cough (very good for clearing the lungs).

      Reply
  • 15. fiona mayhem  |  August 30, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Ooh, I love a good forage too. I was backin the UK for the last 2 weeks, and was so envious of all of the free goodies in the hedgerows. We have so few good spots over here, but it doesn’t stop me finding some treasures.

    I hadn’t thought about rhubarb wine, that’ll be one for next year, as I think mine will have gone over by the time the blackberry wine is done, but I will see. Where did you get the recipe?

    My F is for Floods. We have the lowest garden in a very wet country, and regularly have to pump the excess water. It has togo down the drain, because all of our water butts are full to overflowing.

    Reply
    • 16. Nip it in the bud  |  September 3, 2011 at 7:04 am

      Hope you had a terrific time UK side.
      G’s bottled his rhubarb wine and is now about to embark on damson wine. I think I’ll get him to share the recipe (just one he found on-line) when I get to ‘W is for …’ (well there’s not much to be said about wellies or waddling!)

      Floods must be a real gardening challenge. Have you tried growing blueberries? Apparently they like very boggy soil which is why I’ve never planted them at the allotment as I can’t guarantee regular watering down there.

      Reply
  • 17. sampling Five Valleys fruit cordials | Nip it in the bud  |  September 7, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    […] and and turning a glut of produce into jars and bottles of preserves; almost as much as I love to make something with foraged ingredients.  This year I suspect my cordial making will depend upon donated fruit from kindly allotment […]

    Reply
  • 18. Oxo Tots baking Granny style | Nip it in the bud  |  September 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    […] from freshly opened jars of jam and chutney. Last week we popped open the jar of jam made with these foraged plums to create doughnut style […]

    Reply

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Welcome to my once-about-gardening-and-cooking blog that is now mostly about our life in Gloucester with a boy, a baby and 3 cats.

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