Free and local

BlackberriesSome of our Go Local Food members are foragers and this year should be an absolute delight for walking the local hedgerows. Of course you need to know your berries and there is a very thorough guide to be found at the Wild Food School web page for those who are thinking that yes foraging might be a useful skill- lists some that were definitely not used in my childhood and we were foragers of the farm hedgerows in the autumn.

We most of us know the humble blackberry – good for jam and pie and crumble.

Hedgerow jam can be made from any mixture of blackberries, elderberries, sloes, damsons, wild plums, haws, rose hips with the addition of cooking or crab apples. There’s hawthorn berry ketchup which is apparently lovely. Most of you will know the many uses of the elderberry – an endless list on this link – from additions to crumbles, to jams, chutneys, sauces and alcoholic drinks.

If you find a happy crab apple tree, then crab apple jelly is the one item to make but you can also make crab apple and rowan jelly. The rowans are absolutely loaded this year.  Oh and don’t forget the humble sloe – many a recipe here.

Foraging is the ideal way to provide free basics for jam and chutney making as well as crumble, pie and storing for later in the freezer – free ingredients to hone your cooking skills without a great amount of damage to the purse. And for those of us in rural areas it can be done quite locally.