One of the reasons I love living in the countryside is the peace, quiet (apart from the low flying planes going into Gatwick) and the feeling of green space. We are lucky enough to be able to walk straight out of our house onto green fields and into woodland. As I walk along with my dogs, holding my face up to the autumnal sunshine for some warmth, I try to be positive about saying goodbye to summer. One of the benefits of September is that there are quite a few free foods to be had – blackberries, rosehips, sloes and nettles to name a few. Foraged or ‘wild’ food has got very popular recently, promoted by celebrity chefs and foodie TV programmes. So, here are three ways to use your free autumnal bounty:
Rosehips contain as much as 20 times the Vit C content of oranges. Ripe when deep orange or red, you need to trim off their leaves and remove the seeds (which can irritate your throat) before using them in this recipe. It’s OK to leave the seeds in if you are making jelly though. Do use the rosehips as soon as you can after picking them. There is also some very useful information on Recipes From The Wild website.
Quick Rosehip Jam
Ingredients (makes 950ml)
200g trimmed and seeded rose hips
3 tablespoons lemon juice
400g caster sugar
50g powdered fruit pectin
How to prepare
Put the prepared rose hips, water and lemon juice in a liquidiser; blend until smooth, about 15 seconds. Small bits of rose hips skin are okay. Gradually add the sugar while blender is running. Blend until sugar is dissolved, about 30 seconds or so. Stir the pectin into 175ml water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil; boil hard for about 1 minute. Slowly pour into the rose hip mixture; blend for about 30 seconds.
Pour into small containers with lids. Store in the refrigerator. Jam that is not used within a few weeks can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.