I am in my element walking in the countryside and finding something edible to take home. Today I have collected Elderberries to be turned into all sorts of goodies in the course of the next few days. I have a large bagful to process. Later on today after we have had tea which is sweet and sour chicken with rice I will be sat on my kitchen stool with the radio for company and I will use a fork to separate the berries gently from their tiny stalks and pop the berries into a large bowl and then start to process them. On today's agenda is making some elderberry and spiced elderberry jelly. I will cook up some of the berries and then strain them through my jelly bag overnight. One batch I thought I would do plain and then spice the next batch. I also intend to bottle some small jars up with the berries in for using in casseroles (not in a sugar syrup this time).Another day I will collect some for making a couple of gallons of wine and also some Elderberry Rob and pontack sauce.
We have also found a few small puffballs, the weather is turning more to their liking now so we are hoping for a few more in the next few weeks.
As we were wandering down by the river we bumped into an elderly lady and her daughter with a hazel stick walking crook also foraging. We got talking to them and it turned out they were Polish and a mother and daughter. Mum was picking Rosehips - she seemed to know what she was doing and it transpired that she knew of similar things and they were very interested in what I was going with the elderberries - the comment was that they are not very good uncooked - which is true they take on a sweeter less bitter flavour when cooked. We had quite a nice chat and conversation with them. OH had seen them eating the Guelder Rose berries and on talking to them they harvest them and keep them in the freezer and eat at most about five berries - its mostly the juice that they use as it helps with a poorly uncomortable stomach and kees the right enzymes in there. They were amazed that English people were not taking more advantage of the berries and wild fruits. We left them picking the rosehips (I told them how to use them and what to discard) and I told the younger lady who spoke very good English that she wanted to learn as much as she could from her mum - keep the knowledge going. We will probably see them again, but as OH said they were picking to eat and survive as they had done in their own country. He commented that it must also be a huge culture shock for the mother (apparently they were used to going out to woods etc and harvesting what they needed from there- so we have pointed them in the direction of some local woods as they were particularly after mushrooms, although we have told them about the puffballs and shown them the ones we had and the mother seemed to think they were like a truffle, but we indicated that they are not quite the same,but that they taste good.
Well I must get on I have tea to cook and another batch of Elderberries to deal with.
Hopefully will get back later on - me and the radio have a date.
Catch you soon