So it’s been a while! This pesky PhD keeps requiring quite a lot of work, oh and of course I finally got to head off on holiday to Africa and then the States, so I was rather distracted. However this weekend I have some good stuff to blog about after a massive failing of me and my garden tubs to produce anything edible this year (apart from potatoes, which let’s admits it grow anywhere, without really any effort). My other half successfully survived another year and to celebrate this we headed off to visit his parents for the weekend.
They are lucky enough to not only live in a beautiful little village in the countryside but also have a meadow off the back of their garden, excellent for those sorts of fruit and berries which are usually found by foragers. I can’t really call wandering around the ‘in-laws’ property foraging though. We gathered over 2kg of damsons as well as a few elderberries.
So what’s in store for these ruby goodies? Well I don’t like to only make one thing so there are four recipes from this weekends gathering that I’m experimenting with. The quickest so I can show you all the pictures is a variation on a balsamic vinegar using elderberries. I found this recipe on the good old world wide web but its origins are The Forager Handbook by Miles Irving which I think may have to become a resident in my cookbook collection. It’s beautifully simple as well which definitely appeals to me!
1. Gather elderberries
2. Get the berries away from the stalks (or umbels as I discovered they are called)
3. Wash thoroughly! We bought home 3 spiders, 2 earwigs, 1 woodlouse and numerous miniature creepies
4. Weight the berries before placing into a suitable kilned jar or similar and add 500ml white wine vinegar for every 350g of fruit
5. Leave covered for 3-5 days, stirring occasionally 6. Strain off the liquid (discard the berries) and add 350g of sugar per 260ml of liquid
7. Simmer for 10 minutes then bottle
What you get is a syrupy, delicious balsamic-esque vinegar. We haven’t had a chance to try this yet I’ve just had a sip of it! I can only imagine how much flavour it would add to salads and as mentioned by http://www.gallowaywildfoods.com diluted with a bit of hot water as a warming drink!