Friday, 21 August 2015


I have been foraging...

At this time of year the hedgerows are full of fruit. Over the last couple of years I have become interested in jam-making, so I usually go out and get enough fruit to make a few jars of Hedgerow Jelly. My version of this includes whatever fruit I can find, but usually Sloes, Blackberries, Elderberries, Plums and Apples.

Last year I went a bit overboard with the plums - I picked about 12kgs - so this year I told myself to be a bit more sensible. I'm still eating the jam I made this time last year! Actually, it is just as well that I didn't want many plums, because this year's plum crop has not been as bountiful, and I would certainly not have been able to pick 12kgs this time in the place where I go.

The Blackberries are late this year, presumably because of the weird weather we have had, so I was only able to get a few of them.

The Elderberries, likewise, are later and smaller.

However the Sloes are massive, and abundant.

Some of them are nearly as big as the plums!

Anyway, I collected in the space of about half an hour a huge bucketful of fruit. I didn't weigh it, but I think it must have been about 3 or 3.5kgs.

After washing, about two thirds of the fruit went straight into the Preserving Pan to make juice for my jelly. I added two cooking-apples from the fridge.

After simmering for about a quarter of an hour all the fruit had fallen, making a soft pulp, which was then strained through a muslin bag. Tomorrow I will cook it up with sugar and make my jelly.

I kept back 1.2kgs of Sloes, which are now in a bag in the freezer. I'm going to use them for making Sloe Gin. They say that the flavour of Sloes is best after they have been exposed to some frost, and putting them in the freezer mimics this. In the past I have found that if I leave picking the Sloes until after the first frost there are none left because everyone else has picked them.

As well as the fruit, I came home with a load of Horseradish roots which I dug up from the verge in the country lane just near where I picked the plums.

They don't look very appetising, but Jane likes Horseradish and she assures me that when this lot is peeled and grated it will be lovely! She is planning to preserve some of it for later use in a jar of vinegar. Sounds horrible to me...


  1. Argh... foraging makes me immediately think of autumn and I'm still waiting for summer!
    You've certainly got an amazing amount of bounty.
    Enjoy ;D

  2. I'm with Jane. I love horseradish too.

  3. It's interesting how much fruit you can forage. How fortunate you are to have that resource. I imagine the jelly is very flavorful.

  4. Mark, I want to come and hang out with you for lots of reasons, not just because your a charming soul, but also I know you would without doubt inject the green finger lovin for gardening and foraging that I had a few years back, It would be great if you were near to give me a kick up the backside, as i am so so envious of your foraged bounty - the first photograph is fantastic and is shouting AUTUMN, is it really that time already and sloes - wow!

  5. Those sloes look amazing, I'll have to go out and hunt for some too. I've now switched from making sloe gin to sloe vodka as I much prefer the flavour.

  6. To go foraging for such beautiful're lucky indeed!

  7. Oh its been many years since I have had horseradish in vinegar, its so good with beef!

  8. This is making me want to make jam! Haven't made blackberry jam for quite some time now - thanks for the inspiration, Mark!

    1. Hi Dan; Unfortunately you won't find much jam-making material in the hedgerows just now (unless you can make jam with Wild Garlic!)


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