I love foraging the hedgerows near to where we live when we take Missy for a walk and the hedgerows are burgeoning with bounty to come. There will be a lot of elderberries and black gold, blackberries to gather in the coming weeks. In fact the elderberries will not be long they are already starting to turn black.
Thats all good news for me as I intend to make the best of this bounty - I have agreed to gather a load for my mum to put in her freezer. Every so often she does puddings or baking for my brother and his family or for myself; which is very welcome as I personally always enjoy something that has been cooked for me.
Since I found blackberries in the garden every two days or so I have been going into the garden and I am managing to pick this amount (about 1/2 lb - so I am not doing too bad espcially as they are freebies. I had just enough to make some blackberry and apple jam and this has been bubbling away in the jam pan It tastes scrummy and will be lovely with warmed croissants for breakfast on top of yogurt or in rice pudding as well as a lovely filling for a sponge cake or for a Mille Feuille Slice.
I was a bit worried that I didn't have enough blackberries so I checked with The Basic Basics Jams Preserves and Chutneys Handbook by Marguerite Patten and I only needed 1lb of apples and 1lb of blackberries and 2lb sugar with just enough water to cover the fruit.
1lb apples (recipe said cooking apples but I used some dessert apples that I have)
water to cover fruit
Make sure fruit is sound and get rid of any bruised damaged or mouldy fruit this applies to both the blackberries and the apples. Slice the apples into small pieces then add to the blackberries in the pan. Cook until nice and soft the add the sugar. Carry on cooking until jam achieves a set.
Bottle into nice hot jars.
I now have four jars of purple bounty to add to "The Put Down 2010", the first of many I hope. I have lined up a few different recipes that I want to try in the coming weeks, some of them old friends some of them completely new to me, but one thing I have promised myself is that I am going to put a few bottles of compote up variations on the fruits yet to come combined with apples and pears giving more scope for different puddings and meals. And there are still the pickles, home made mincemeat, curds etc to come as well as the wine making, beer making ginger beer and cider.
Theres lots to do and so little time to do it.
Catch up soon