Sunday, 11 September 2011

September, September.

September. An interesting month. True, its appearance on the calendar means a goodbye to summer and a hello to school days, torrential rain and rapidly dwindling evening light, but the start of autumn also means there's lots of stuff to do hedgerow-wise. Lots to pick and, as a consequence, a metric arse-load of cooking too.

So this is my haul from a weekend of picking:

That's about 2kg of rose hips, 1kg of crab apples and about 1.5 or so of blackberries. All very easy to find and there's quite a bit to do with them all.

Rose hips:
If you've got a garden, and you have roses, chances are you'll see these zingy red fruits once the flowers have died off. You can also find them around this time of year in hedgerows and parks. I've managed to grab a load from a load of dog roses that grow nearby, but apparently you can get these babies from most rose species (some species are obviously going to yield better fruit than others ... maybe I'll try a few different varieties next year).

Rose hips are one of the richest sources of vitamin C you're likely to come across. They make good tea, jam, syrup and boast impressive medicinal properties, helping fight arthritis and bad skin. I bagged myself a bucket-load so I can try out a few recipes with them over the next few days and share the results.

Crab Apples:
Green ones. I'm not sure what species they are but they're definitely crab apples (or 'wild apples' if you don't speak bumpkin). Crab apples are also usually a hedgerow plant. You can find them in parks and random places dotted around the city. They're not much good for just eating because they are a) small, and b) kind of bitter. They are good for making jellies and chutneys though, so I'll see what happens with them.

I'm sure a lot of people have been blackberrying (that's fruit picking and not phone knicking). They grow all over the place and I am sure that if you live in a temperate zone (especially in the northern hemisphere), you've probably seen these bad boys somewhere nearby. The main problem with these little sods is avoiding the brambles when you pick them. Their juice also stains clothes so don't be wearing your best shirt when you go rummaging for them.

Blackberries are great when combined with apple in pies, jams and whatnot, but you can also put them with meats and in other autumnal savoury dishes for a bit of extra flavour.

Not a bad haul for a couple of sessions of gathering. Looking forward to sharing the results very soon.

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