Wednesday, 12 September 2012

September Love

What a lovely start to the autumn season! Those who know me well, know that September is my favourite time of year. The light around Bath is beautiful and catches the Bath stone in a way that makes it glow golden.
During this season, when I'm not working away in my shed, I can usally be found donning my cute Joules french navy wellies (they tie with a gossamer bow, what's not to love?) and heading out to the fields to forage.

haw berries

There is nothing better than finding trees and hedges groaning under the weight of fruit that has been soaking up the sun all summer. Now, this year hasn't been great for fruit and veg (wild or cultivated) so the harvest is minimal, but this week I found a great selection for using good old Pam 'the jam' Corbins hedgerow jelly. You can basically put in any hedgerow edibles to capture the flavours of autumn and for mine I found elderberries, sloes, haws and of course blackberries. To add pectin and bulk it out a bit I also used some cooking apples. Below is the recipe taken from The River Cottage handbook...

Will make seven or eight 225g jars
1kg foraged crab apples (or cooking apples)
1kg mixed hedgerow berries
Around 900g granulated sugar
Pick over your fruit, removing stalks and leafy bits and rinsing the berries. Don't peel or core the apples, just chop them roughly. Place all the prepared fruit in a large saucepan with 1.2 litres of water.
Bring gently to simmering point. Simmer until all the fruit is soft and pulpy. Remove from the heat.
Turn the contents of the pan into a scalded jelly bag or muslin cloth. Leave to drip into a bowl overnight. the jelly will turn cloudy if you squeeze the juice through, so just let it drip at its own pace.
The next day measure the juice - you will probably have about 1.2 litres, though this will depend on the berries you used. For every 600ml of juice, allow 450g of sugar.
Put the juice in a large pan and bring slowly to the boil. Add the sugar as it comes to the boil. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Then boil rapidly without stirring for for 10 mins or until setting point is reached.
Skim the jelly and pot and seal as quickly as possible. Use within 12 months.
The jelly that I made turned out well and will be enjoyed with hot buttered toast, scones and maybe for a Sunday roast sauce, yum!

Enjoy xx

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