Well autumn looks like it has arrived with a vast deluge of rain so to cheer ourselves up we need to make the most of what our fabulous countryside has to offer (that is if the ground isn’t flooded!).
There is nothing nicer on a dry autumnal day to go for a walk and feel the wind through your hair, enjoying the vibrant oranges, yellows and reds that decorate our trees, but so many of us ignore the hedgerows so I believe it’s time to take note of what they have to offer and to take advantage of natures harvest to make yourself something lovely.
Autumn is the prime time to make chutney, wines, jams and jellies usually by people who grow their own and find that they have a surplus that they don’t know what to do with – green tomatoes is a classic of this, but those that don’t grow their own would normally have to go out and buy ingredients to make these home delights but I would urge you to take some time to forage your own ingredients!
Crab apples, sloes, elderberry, Bullace, rose hips and blackberries are all in abundance across our hedgerows and countryside and often are left to rot.
Whilst on a local walk a few years ago we came across a crab apple tree and every year since we go back to that place pick up as many windfalls as we can manage, once back at home they get sorted and a few days later I make crab apple jelly which I can tell you is fabulous with lamb, turkey, cold meats and cheese. I have also made crab apple wine which to be honest was a bit of a faff but in times when money is of short supply is worth a go because it tasted lovely and believe me was rather strong!
Another popular recipe to make in autumn is sloe gin but I am going to give you a less well known recipe instead which is for blackberry vodka, I do hope you try it as it’s easy to make a tastes divine!