Friday, 27 September 2013

Homemade Rosehip syrup

As you will already have seen from my previous post I've gotten into foraging in a big way, finding lots of new recipes to try for each new food I forage. Well today I'm making something I have never tried before and I don't really have a clue what it will taste like either.

I have been telling friends at work about my recent foraging and jam making activities, one of the women who lives in a beautiful rural area called Entwistle was telling me about how she used to pick fruits and make jam, I promised to bring in some of the elderberry and crap apple jam that I made and the next week she came in with a hedgerow jam for me - I'd inspired her to go out and forage then make some jam! The jam contained all the fruits that are available, blackberries, rowan berries, haws, crab apples, rosehips and elderberries it was delicious. 

She said that she would like to try making blackberry and sloe recipe but she did not know where to find some. I said I would pick her some and she said would pick me some rosehips from her garden they were rosa rugosa hips that unlike the rosehips you generally see in hedgerows it was much bigger and fatter, apparently they are a better flavour. 

This week I am suffering from a cold, chesty cough and a sore throat- the first of the autumn season and as it hasn't even been very cold yet it doesn't bode well! Apparently rosehip syrup is well known for its medicinal properties. It's high in vitamins A, C and D as well as being full of antioxidants.

I found this recipe on another blog...

It seemed very straight forward so I decided to give it ago! 
Wash the rosehips (and if my sisters are reading this - yes they are the things we used to break open and put in the seeds down each other's backs as itching powder when we were little!!!)

Mince them in the food processor 
Add to a pan of boiling water, bring to boil then take off heat to infuse for 15 mins. 
Strain through a muslin cloth and put the pulp back into the pan with more water, boil then leave for 15mins and strain again.
Do you like how I have hung the muslin cloth up to strain? 
I had no idea what I was going to use for hanging it up but Matthew put a hook discreetly under the cupboard and it works wonderfully. 
When the juice has drained out, put back into the pan add the sugar and boil for 5 mins.
Decant into sterilised bottles....which is were I came unstuck ... I had some Kilner bottles with the swing top lid but I hadn't sterilised bottles before, only jars, so I just did it in the same way as the jars by washing it then putting it in a low oven, I'm not sure what I did or if those bottles are meant to be sterilised like that.. it must have been too high because the plastic on the lid melted ....oops!
                Sterilising 😟
I've not got anymore bottles so I had to use these ones but put wine bottle stoppers in!

The finished product..and actually tastes lovely and if it helps my cold to get better then that will be great!

Thanks for reading, 
Abigail xxx

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Foraging walk

I've really been interested in foraging since last year we picked some winberries and blackberries, I bought a book "Food for free" by Richard Mabey that I take it out with me sometimes to try to identify any berries I see. I don't want to poison myself so I always double check on google that what I've picked is edible.

What's been good about going out walking Max everyday is that you really notice any changes in park. It was mid August when I started to see that there were lots of bramble bushes and the blackberries were beginning to ripen (it seemed earlier than usual and last year I really struggled to find any blackberries on 7 acres at all I picked most of mine from longsight park). This year there has been an abundance of them I put it down to what a good summer we have had and from August to now they have been ripening and I have been picking them. I am a bit obsessed I have filled my freezer with them, made a jam, cakes and put some into apple crumbles - I find it very difficult to walk past a ripe blackberry without picking it! I also picked a handful of raspberries which I will definitely look out for in July next year.

Last week we went for a walk up to Rivington Pike and again there was an abundance of wimberry bushes but as it was coming to the end of season it was getting harder to find them still we managed to find about 250g - enough to put in a cake. 

The more I walk in 7 acres the more I'm looking around at trees and noticing berries or fruits. I noticed some small apple like fruits on a tree, I took one home research it and discovered they were crab apples. I also noticed some elderberries that were green so I've been waiting for these to ripen so I could pick them too, and I noticed some purpley berries and found out that they were sloes - I have been told I must make sloe gin apparently its lovely! But don't try to eat them straight off the tree they taste sharp and it makes your tongue very dry! Yes I did have a go! 
      Blackberries, elderberries, sloes and crab apples all foraged from 7 acres country park

It was a lovely surprise that when I was out walking in 7 acres I noticed a poster for a free foraging walk being held by the 'friends of 7 acres' group and we signed up for it straight away.
It was great, held on last Sunday morning 10.30am - 12.30pm we met at the 7 acres environment centre across the other side of the park to us, there was about 10 adults and about 3 children. 
It was really informative as well as learning about food that is in season now we found out about what to look for in other seasons and discovered how to identify plants, we saw burdock plants of which roots can be used to make dandelion and burdock. We saw a hazel tree without any hazelnuts (apparently there are a lot of squirrels on 7 acres!). Tried the seed of a Himalayan balsam which is high in vitamin c and tastes a bit like watermelon.  Sampled some Haw berry Turkish delight that sounded very easy to make and tasted much nicer than real Turkish delight. Learned that uncooked elderberries have cyanide in them! Thankfully it's only a little bit and it's only harmful if you eat in great quantities! Smelled the leaves of a plant called sweet which smelled of licorice and is high in pectin so good for adding to jams, sampled some (very strong) birch sap wine and learned how to make it. And also told us about rowan berries and rosehips both good for making jams or jellies. Unfortunately the heavens open halfway round and we got drenched but we met some very nice people and had a lovely time. We even made it onto the website -

I now have lots of ideas of what to forage and what to make next. 

Thanks for reading, 
Abigail xxx

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Summer holidays have been and gone!

Well 7 whole weeks of summer holidays have flown by and this was my first week back at work, I don't really feel like I've done much over the holidays but looking back I have done quite a bit.
I've taken part in three swaps, a summer swap, a vintage tea party swap and a great British tea party swap

Made quite a few things...
I've made some brooches to sell at cafe create and sold my first one!

I've made myself a granny shawl scarf

A made some things for the swaps

And baked a few things..
I've made some scones

A delicious beef and onion pie

A chorizo and egg sausage plait and milk chocolate and peanut butter cookies for a camping trip
A birthday cake and 48 cupcakes for my mums 60th birthday.

Done a bit of DIY
Matthew made some shelves for me and I painted them duck egg blue to display all my pretty things

I've been camping near Ullswater in the Lake District for bank holiday weekend
And I did my hardest walk yet up helvellyn via striding edge

Picked lots and lots of blackberries 

And organised my mum's sixtieth birthday party

So actually I did quite a lot!
Ok back to real life now..
Thanks for reading, 
Abigail x