Autumn's wild food bounty helps to make it one of our favourite times of the year - here are our favourite foraging recipes to prepare for the winter ahead...
As the weather begins to crisp and the leaves turn amber and brown we see a wealth of wild berries and nuts ripening in hedgerows and on country walks. This is the signal that autumn's foraging fun is about to begin, so we picked our favourite wild food finds and how to use them:
Renowned for being packed full of Vitamin C these beautiful little orangey red rosehips shine out from the hedgerow, thankfully making them easy to spot.
They are the seed pods of the wild rose often found rambling through the hedges on country lanes, but also through garden trees and plants too if you're lucky.
Traditionally they were used to stave off winter colds thanks to the vitamin-rich outer layer - they arrive at the perfect time (at the start of autumn) after all! But beware of the hairy inner seeds, they are known to be an irritant so that's why all recipes using hips involve straining through a muslin cloth.
Their flavour is fruity and slightly floral - there is a certain warmth to them that sings autumn in every sip.
Here is a classic Rosehip Syrup recipe (natural cold prevention - allegedly!), but we explore another exciting way to use them later on...
Will keep for up to 4 months.
The syrup can be diluted like cordial, used in cocktails or used as a syrup on yoghurt and desserts, or even to accompany blue cheese! Yum.
We also came across this recipe for Raw Rosehip Syrup which we will give a try this year...
Finally, the time of year when the ongoing battle with this tenacious and prickly hedgerow plant (wish it was just in the hedgerow and not invading the flowerbeds!) pays off:
From late August through to the end of October our countryside is full of nostalgia and fond childhood memories - blackberry picking, yeahy!
Rich in anti-oxidants (it is like nature knows what is in store for us in the coming months, funny that) and full of delicious sweet yet tart fruity flavours it is not surprising that there is an abundance of delicious blackberry recipes.
Here is our favourite for preserving some of those delicious juices for the festive season:
Makes a great alternative to standard gin a Bramble cocktail, is delicious topped with soda water or makes a truly fabulous addition to Prosecco!
Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn bush, found in most British hedgerows, and are ripe for picking from September time onwards. If they are ready they will be a deep blue/purple colour and just starting to give when you squish them between your fingers.
Watch out for the long thorns on the branches though, especially if picking with children.
Speaking of which, the recipe we have selected for sloes isn't the classic Sloe Gin, but instead a cordial - to please those little helping hands and reward them for a full day of foraging.
Though instead of mixing with water, soda or lemonade it can be a great addition to many spirits and wine too!
You can buy citric acid in a range of places, such as Wilkinsons, Amazon and some chemists.