Rich pickings!

 Hi everyone,

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.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx


19 thoughts on “Rich pickings!

  1. I have alarge field at the back of my house i must go and have a walk there this week and see what there is. jam making bits are on my list, have been lookign high and low in charity shops but nothing, may put a wanted on freecycle and see if anyone has any they no longer use.


  2. I wish I lived anywhere near the A390! And all those wonderful damsons! I wish I could find something like that near me, although I think I may have found some sloes by accident. will need to check them out (never picked them before); I have heard so much about sloe gin that I really must give it a try as I think I am missing out on something that everyone says is truly special.


  3. Hi Froogs

    From the other side of the world (Maleny, Aust) I have not heard of damsons or sloes. The best I manage is cheery tomatoes down the road from us and mulberries in a park near where my mother lives. However, I do want to say I hope all is well with you and yours. Thinking of you. xx


  4. We have spent the afternoon having a lovely walk and picking lots of blackberries. Honestly, every single lane we walked along was bursting with them, we even have a load in our school car park – well we do until I get my hands on them 🙂
    Happy foraging !!
    Twiggy x


  5. As Fairy, I also live on the other side of the world (Tropical Northern Australia). I have never heard, seen or tasted damsons or sloes.

    They say this year is a bumper year for Mangoes. So in another 4 weeks I can start picking mangoes in many of public parks that have heavily fruiting trees.

    People are so fussy with mangoes now, they they prefer to buy the more exquisite varieties. But I love Free food and will pick to my hearts content.

    I'm not sure; but it may also be Tamarind season soon. And this year I would like to pick some that grows in many of the parks and along walking paths. It has lots of health benefits and so many countries use it in amazingly different ways. I usually just eat it like a fruit – but it's time to get creative 🙂


  6. Hi Dalesgirl – but would you eat the veggies grown the other side of the hedge? And, air borne pollution is everywhere and the veg you eat is just as polluted with insecticides and pesticides. All the milk you drink is full of hormones and antibiotics, all the meat you eat is equally pumped with chemicals. And, she says in a very arsy tone……'s the A390 and not the M25! so the pollution is the air i breath all day every day.


  7. I put a request on freecycle for sloes, didnt get any but was told where i could get them from.So this afternoon we went foraging , found some picked a tub full. We then went to mother in law to double check we had picked sloes.I have purchased a cheap bottle of gin ready to make sloe gin. I have one recipe but would love to know how you do yours.I have rosehips down the end of my lane so going to try rosehip syrup as well.x


  8. hi there l.m hart – I go to lidl and buy a bottle of gin, the last place you can buy top quality gin for under £10 – I then drink a quarter of a bottle! I freeze some sloes so the skin splits and pop as many in as I can get in there, then I add sugar, usually around three table spoons and every time I pass the bottle I shake it –


  9. Good points – I’m vegan so I don’t eat any meat or milk – mainly because of the issues you mention (and cos it’s a globally responsible option). No I wouldn’t eat veggies grown the other side of the hedge for the same reasons. Sourcing food responsibly isn’t an easy choice – and I fail to live up to my own expectations on a daily basis. I guess I was just curious – sound reasoning especially the bit about breathing the pollution anyway.


  10. Hi Dalesgirl – a commendable lifestyle – but Riverford organic farmshop and veggie box scheme, own their own pantechnicans, which they haul food from Spain and back and have enough lorries to run one on every Brittany Ferries trip, so do Abel and Cole, only their food gets shipped into Dover. Well, their frickin' great lorries add to the pollution! and they don't source ethically as they out source to get cheaper food, just in the same way as Tescos – my scrabblings from the side of the road beats your 'ethically' (my arse!) food hands down! Pick a fight with Queenie if you want but you will get whooped!


  11. I have been keeping an eye open for free foods as well.. here we get elderberries and they make a wonderful jam that is said to be antiviral… so I have been watching the few on the road sides that I see. Someday I hope to have some growing in my yard.


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