In the past, people relied hedgerows to find healthy seasonal food all for free. Fruits like apples and pears, berries and nuts are all tasty food sources. These bounties can also be preserved to last over the winter, when other food sources may be scarce.
The Hedgerow Harvest project run by the Tree Council, seeks to reconnect people to this heritage of free local healthy food.
Have you been out harvesting from our hedgerows? We would love to hear about your foraging! The Tree council website has some good advice if you want to give it a go! Blackberries are one of the easiest berries to spot, and are full of vitamins and fibre. A cup of blackberries has half the recommended amount of Vitamin C.
If you are foraging your hedgerows, we would love to hear from you.
One of my favourite Christmas presents is a bottle of sloe gin to celebrate with! A little bird gave me her favourite recipe!
500g ripe sloes
250g golden caster sugar
1 litre gin
Wash, rinse and dry the sloes in a clean cloth. Using a cocktail stick prick a hole in each sloe, and tip into a large jar (or divide between smaller jars). Add the sugar and bottle of gin, and seal the jars. Shake the jars
Every day for a week, give the jars another good shake
Store the jar in a cool, dark place and leave for two to three months.
Strain the gin through muslin squares and decant into clean dry bottles.
It will be even better if you leave it to mature for a while!
In our facebook group, Donna from Seaford told us she had been making crab apple and blackberry jam and fruit leather, crab apple jelly, elderberry syrup, dehydrated elderberries, rose hip syrup, Haw sauce, and was even searching for conkers to make washing liquid! She had also made plantain balm, and self-heal balm, and had dehydrated nettle tops and crushed them to a powder to add to cooking etc. Wow she has certainly been busy!
Here she shares some of her tips:
“I don’t really measure anything….. just go by eye! The rose hip syrup though was a raw one – sugar in the bottom of the jar then a layer each of rose hips and then sugar all the way to the top, finishing with sugar. Seal and leave in a warm sunny sill/airing cupboard or warm car boot. Leave it for a few weeks and then strain
Elderberry syrup is one cup berries to two cups of water roughly (I sometimes add more water to make it go further) add fresh ginger and cinnamon stick and a couple of cloves to the boil, strain and simmer in the pan with sugar.”
Do get outside, and see what you can find! We would love to hear all about it!