After the rigours of last week’s walk in the gales I’ve returned to my usual stroll around Longridge.
I was very aware of the fruits in the hedges as I walked up the lane to the farm. The best of the blackberries have gone but I started to count others and wondered about their edibility and uses.Very prominent were the red berries of the Hawthorn bushes. Apparently the berries contain potent antioxidants and have been used in herbal remedies for heart problems. Leaving that aside I have found some recipes for jelly and tea, but I’m not convinced as yet.
Scrambling through the hedges were rose bushes with their characteristic red hips at this time of year. Now I know these do make a good jelly and also tea. The itchy seeds need to be removed first and apparently they are best after the first frost.
I’ve never before considered whether Rowan berries were edible but reading up about them shows they are, again mainly in jellies or jams.
In past years I’ve made elderflower cordial but not used the berries. They can me used for wine making and also in pies and crumbles.
This year seems to have been good for the sloes on the blackthorn which grow commonly round here. I think their main use is for flavouring gin and other spirits.
So a short walk brought several possibilities of hedgerow fare, I will research a few recipes in more detail and return for some Autumnal pickings.
Hiya John. I made some wine from hawthorn berries about thirty years go, and it was sort of successful. Trouble is, it takes ages to pick enough for a gallon – which is about the minimum quantity required. The result was a wine that tasted similar to sherry. Wasn’t bad, but more trouble than it was worth.
Rosehip wine was more successful. It looks like tomato soup when you make it, but when it has settled and cleared it’s very pleasant.
My granny in Scotland used to make rowan jelly, which you ate with meat similar to cranberry jelly. I remember gathering the berries and her making it, but I can’t remember what it tasted like. People ate anything and everything in the old days.
That was all “veeery interesting”, as Wolfgang used to say on the 70s Rowan and Martin Laugh in. Yes I remember my relatives making all sorts of concoctions from the wild. Now it is the posh chefs who will add a dash of elderberry puree to their latest creation.
Anyhow I’m encouraged to use some of our autumn fruits – watch this space.
Good to hear from you Alen.