Apologies for my scant visits, can’t say why……………………! But I took a break from being shackled to my job today and went out for some lay-by shopping! I’ll let you into a secret as I can’t possibly keep this to myself and I hope everyone goes out picking. The A390 between Dobwalls and Lostwithiel is one big free for all orchard. Throughout the spring, I was mesmerised by the clouds of white blossoms; every now and then some pink blossoms would push through. A hard winter is usually followed by a heavily fruiting autumn and this autumn is rich indeed. Wild damsons are hanging off the trees like bunches of grapes, clusters of apples in all the wild varieties are weighing down the branches. There is nothing more satisfying than pulling into a lay by and filling up bags and bags with free food and especially fruit that is almost impossible to buy.
I popped out for a reprieve today and picked sloes and damsons. The sloes will go into bottles of gin, ready to be sipped fireside in the dead of winter. The damsons will go into hedgerow jelly, chutney and jam. Most will be given away as gifts.
I had a pot full of foraged fruit from last week and before it started to wrinkle, I was determined, even with the tiny amount of time I have free to do something with it. We eat sloe and damson jelly with turkey or poultry in the way that some people eat cranberry sauce with it. It has a sweetness and cutting acidity at the same time. It is incredibly easy to make. Wash the fruit, add some chopped apples. You don’t even need to take stones out or cut out cores, just chop and chuck. Stew away for about half an hour until a total mush. I add three cups of water to make it go further and as it’s so very rich in pectin, you’ll get a quivering jelly that will set perfectly.
After stewing away, pour into a jelly bag over a saucepan and leave to drip and drip. You can leave it over night and go back to doing some thing else.
I’ll get back to that in the morning and turn it into jelly. In the meantime, I’ll get back to work.
The finished result? A shiny clear and piquant jelly, just perfect with roast chicken or roast turkey! The cost? 82p for five jars!I used one bag of granulated sugar. 16.5 pence per jar! I have the offer of ‘help your self to as many apples as you can pick’ Bramleys, so I’ll pick some later in the week and make chutney with the damsons that I picked today.
Does anyone else out there have any where that’s rich in free food to share? Here are some more from me. Watergate Bay for mussels (blue flag beach, so no contamination?) Rapson’s car park for damsons, Twowatersfoot for apples and of course, the A390 for lots of fruit.
Love Froogs xx