Hedgerow foraging

Friday, October 30, 2015

hedgreow foraging in Norfolkhedgreow foraging in Norfolk

This autumn we've tried to get stuck in much more to countryside treats. The hedgerows have been bursting with berries for weeks and it's frankly ludicrous that we've not made better use of what's on offer in previous years.

The most obvious start was the blackberries. We thought there would be thousands around but it rather turned out to be slim pickings on our initial hunt. It took quite a long time to collect a modest quantity and we had to be selective to ensure that any bad ones didn't make it into the bag. Of course, in the following days we did see masses all gloating at us that we no longer has need for. They did seem to be later than usual this year? C commented that there still seem to be some around even now and I'm inclined to agree that it's unexpected. With the blackberries I made a blackberry and (Bramley) apple crumble which reminded me so much of my Grandma who would crumble anything. I distinctly remember a tinned strawberry crumble (which I wouldn't recommend to anyone!).

hedgreow foraging in Norfolkhedgreow foraging in Norfolkhedgreow foraging in Norfolk

We decided, although independently, that we ought to make ourselves some sloe gin. I have to admit that I wasn't 100% sure about which bushes had sloe berries so just to be doubly sure, we did check. Then it was really obvious. Again, there were hardly any to be found on our first search which is because someone else had cleared out all but a few. The next place we tried had loads and they were much easier to get to, though the best ones are up high so it really pays to have someone taller than you so they have to struggle for the fruit up high. That's my top tip. I held the bag and patiently waited. Somebody has to.

We ended up with enough for three vats of sloe gin, of which we've got two lots going (a litre of gin each) and one portion of sloes still in the freezer for another time. We asked Hazel's advice how to go about it.

hedgreow foraging in Norfolkhedgreow foraging in Norfolkhedgreow foraging in Norfolk

Elderberries were also on our shopping list. We were only just in time to catch them before they turned; C checked the springs before selecting the ones which still looked healthy, w hile I was on bag holding duty. The elderberries are now making elderberry vodka. I'll definitely be giving this a go. We'll pick them earlier next year when they're plentiful! Did I mention that we picked elderflowers in summer to make cordial? C made it and drank it, somehow I missed out and I don't know why. Next year we'll do it again.

hedgreow foraging in Norfolk

There are so many opportunities to forage in the countryside throughout the year and I'm really intrigued about making the most of all there is on offer. Next year I wonder what I could do with rosehips?


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  1. Rose hip syrup!!! It is good for warding off colds!!
    This is my Mum's territory-she is the sloe gin and elderbwrry vodka fairy!

  2. Love this post, you found so much too! I do love going blackberry picking, it's so much fun and Mum always makes blackberry jam with them. Sloe Gin is delicious, one of my neighbours back at our old house last year, made it each Christmas it was so yummy! - Tasha

  3. I've yet to go looking for sloes this year, I fear I'm too late! Sounds like you have a mini distillery going on.
    I'd love to forage more, especially to make elderflower cordial and gin ;o) and I'd never say no to a blackberry crumble.
    My Mum made a strawberry crumble once too, never again. Euch.

  4. All this kind of thing is fascinating (as well as sounding yum, especially the crumble) as it is such a different way of life in the sticks to being beside the sea, and reading your posts is about the nearest I get to the countryside right now.

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