Tag Archives: wild fruit

Wordless Wednesday: First apples and blackberries of the season

First apples and blackberries of the season

J Peggy Taylor

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Waiting for the raspberries to ripen

New season's raspberries growing
New season’s raspberries – green but growing

Wild fruit foraging is one of my favourite Summer tasks and in our area there’s a forager’s feast with lots of delicious berries to find. The raspberries are usually the first to ripen and one or two berries are just beginning to show their rosy tones.

New season's raspberries
New season’s raspberries – just beginning to ripen
Last-of-the-blackberries tea scones
“Last-of-the-blackberries” tea scones

Whilst we’re awaiting the imminent raspberry-picking season, I’ve still been working my way through the last few of last year’s blackberries from my freezer. I concocted these rather delicious blackberry tea scones, tinged pink from their added wild fruit. I love cooking with wild food.

J Peggy Taylor

Christmas wild food - Yule log cake

Wild food for Christmas

Our Christmas feasting would not be complete without a dash of wild food. Wild fruits, carefully harvested and preserved during Summer and Autumn, bring out memories of warm sunshine in these deep days of Winter.

You may have seen my Wordless Wednesday pic last week, with my son expertly whisking up a Yule log cake. Here is the Yule log cake in all its decorated glory, replete with lashings of home-made blackberry jam and cream … and not forgetting the cherries and chocolate! This is definitely a cream cake to eat with a spoon!

Our Yule log cake 2014
My own MasterChef in the making? The fully decorated Yule log cake!

Another wild food festive treat I like to rustle up is Raspberry Coulis – a delicious fruity sauce topping that turns plain vanilla ice cream into a delightful dessert, especially with a shaking of grated chocolate on top. We prefer this wild food dessert instead of traditional Christmas pudding.

Raspberry Coulis Ice Cream Dessert
Raspberry Coulis Ice Cream Dessert

Raspberry Coulis is easy, though slightly time-consuming to make – here is the recipe I always use:

Raspberry Coulis

Ingredients:
175g / 6 oz of fresh raspberries (washed) or frozen raspberries (thawed)
3 teaspoons of water
3 teaspoons of sugar
(We find this is sufficient quantity to accompany 8 servings of ice cream.)

To make:
1. Blend the raspberries in a blender or food processor with the water and sugar.
2. Sieve the mixture through a metal or nylon sieve. (This is the time-consuming part! I find stirring the mixture carefully in the sieve helps it on its way 😉 )
3. Turn the resulting liquid into a saucepan and boil for one minute. This makes the sauce clear and glossy.
4. Cool and refrigerate until needed. (I find this sauce lasts about four or five days in the fridge … then it tends to have been eaten! 😉 )

If the raspberry harvest has been disappointing and we have none left in the freezer by Christmas, I have also made up the same recipe using blackberries with equally delicious results. We always tend to have many more blackberries. Sometimes the bramble bushes are blooming again before all our blackberry stash has been devoured!

J Peggy Taylor

Fruit-picking time! Choosing containers for raspberries

The raspberries are ripening! The sun is shining! … and so fruit-picking time begins for 2014!

An assortment of my fruit foraging containers
An assortment of my fruit foraging containers

But before the fruit-picking can begin, the first job is to dig out my old and trusty recycled containers. There are those that I like to take out with me for holding the berries whilst I’m picking. Then there are those that fit together well for storing my fruit in the freezer. My many containers come in useful different shapes and sizes. It seems WordPress must have read my mind this week when choosing “Containers” as the topic for the Weekly Photo Challenge!

I love foraging for wild fruit. We spend many happy Summer hours fruit-picking. We’re lucky as we have a good variety of wild fruits growing nearby to us. For me fruit-picking is such a calming and tranquil activity – a chance to slip away from busyness into my own little world for a short time.

The raspberry canes grow in the tangled undergrowth amongst the stinging nettles and thistles
The raspberry canes grow in the tangled undergrowth amongst the stinging nettles and thistles

The raspberries are the first of our fruits to ripen, so I’m usually picking them by mid to late July. They grow in a rather overgrown but sheltered spot, which is lovely in the warm sun. I get so absorbed in seeking out and picking the fruit that I always end up with more than a few nettle stings when I’m finished! ‘No pain, no gain’ … so the saying goes!

Our first raspberries of 2014
Our first raspberries of 2014 – growing in their quiet, sunny corner.

As raspberries are rather soft and easily squashed, I tend to pick them in small batches. I take a shallow recycled tub to hold the raspberries – I’ve had some of my foraging tubs for years, but they are ideal for this job.

Juicy fresh raspberries for a delicious dessert
Juicy fresh raspberries for a delicious dessert

When I return home, the raspberries are washed and checked over. The berries are either eaten immediately for quick and easy desserts or I put them into a container and place them in the freezer. Sometimes my sons come along to help with the picking, then even more of the berries get eaten immediately! … including before the raspberries actually arrive home, as you might imagine!

Storing raspberries for home freezing
Adding a second batch of raspberries to the container of frozen berries

Over the next few weeks more batches of raspberries will be picked and frozen. As I gradually amass a good quantity of berries in the freezer, we begin watching out for the apples ripening. They also grow close by to us, so we’ve not far to go to keep checking them. … and then it will be time for jam-making to begin!

J Peggy Taylor