Fruits of the Forage

Rosehip by you.

I have been laying down the stocks of wild autumn fruits ,  the fruits of a little foraging, some of my tips for a little feminine foraging Foraging for wild fruits is fun if a little injurous , why do the tastiest fruits have the spikiest thorns?

  • Rosehip Syrup
  • Damson Cheese
  • Sloe Gin
  • Blackberry Vinegar

Rosehips who can resist beautiful  bright red globes that beg to be used , high in vitamin C, just make sure you remove the potentially irritating seeds in any recipe . Rosehip syrup is a sweet sour recipe  perfect for sweet foods on baked apple or from glazing meats like pork or lamb.

Simmering Rosehips by you.

Rosehip Syrup Recipe

400g of rosehips
1 pint of water
100g of sugar

  1. Simmer the rosehips in the water for 15 minutes, mash and return to a simmer for a further 15 minutes
  2. Strain through muslin to remove the fruit pulp
  3. Stir in the sugar and warm over a gentle heat
  4. Pour into sterilised jars

Rosehip Syrup by you.

Damson by you.

Damsons, there were foraged but not by me, I found a large box of these at the market , they don’t seem to grow round here or maybe I haven’t found a good spot yet. Golf Ball sized beautiful purple skin and pale flesh but when cooked they release a striking purple juice.

P1040947 by you.

I was thinking jam,  but I am not that into sweet things on toast Damson cheese is thicker and slightly sour so it goes perfectly with cheese and colds meats , I made a lot since it freezes well.

Damson Cheese
1kg of damsons
100ml of water
White granulated sugar (200g to each 200ml of damson puree)
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

  1. Wash the fruit
  2. Bring the damsons & water  to a gentle simmer and cook very  until all fruit is soft and falling of the stones.
  3. When fruit is very soft, remove from the heat and cool before straining and pressing through a medium sieve. Discard the stones.Pour fruit into a measuring jug and return to the cleaned pan with the sugar and lemon juice.
  4. Stir over a gentle heat stir until sugar is dissolved.
  5. Bring to the boil and continue to boil briskly. Stir constantly, to stop the sugar burning on the base of the saucepan. 
  6. Ladle into warm sterilised jars and seal once cool.

Sloes by you.

Sloe too are beautiful purple globes I make  sloe gin every , its strikingly easy and a lovely warming treat for winter but ideally should be laid down for at least a year.

Sloe Gin Recipe

500g  sloes
100g caster sugar
2 pint gin

1. Prick the tough skin of the sloes all over with a clean needle ( or freeze overnight and hit with a rolling pin ) . Place in a sealable bottle or sterilized jar.
2. Pour in the sugar and the gin, seal and shake well.
3. Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week,
4. Leave for at least three months it should be dark purple and ready to drink.

Sloe Gin by you.

Blackberries can be used in the same way to make a gin or vodka but can also be used to make fruit vinegar which I love to add to beef or lamb stews , it is also especially good on beetroot and goats cheese salads. Fruitier than balsamic vinegar, you can use the same methods with raspberries or strawberries

Soaking Blackberries by you.

Blackberry Vinegar

500g grams blackberries
4 tbsp sugar
500 ml white wine vinegar

1. Place the berries in the vinegar leave to soak for one week
2. Add the sugar Bring to a gentle simmer for one minute
3. Pour the mixture through a fine strainer to remove the berries’ flesh and seeds.
4.  Put the strained vinegar into bottles


  1. I love this time of year, when the blackberries lie heavy on the bushes, people walking slowly and a little secretively up and down the canal bank, plastic box in hand, their eyes scanning the undergrowth for that perfect find.

    It’s important to forage. It’s a connection with a simpler way of cooking and eating that we’ve collectively lost. It’s about how things used to be, how they could be again, and sometimes are, at least for a couple of weeks in September when the blackberries are ripe.

    There are few culinary adventures more rewarding than stumbling on a patch of wild fruit and eating it straight from the bush. It’s just a perfect moment.

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