Hedgerow Harvesting-Part 2

Elderberries are just about ripe at the moment. You know they are ready when the clusters hang down and they are a deep red-black colour.

Ripe elderberries.

The berries are high in VitaminC and have many culinary uses. Jelly, wine, jam and cordial are some of the possibilities. Yesterday I made a blackberry and elderberry cordial which will be used in the Winter if we feel a cold coming on or just want a nice drink. To make it take equal quantities of both berries (I had about 4lbs of fruit), stew them in a quarter pint of water, then strain through a cloth. For each pint of juice add 6ozs of sugar and boil for 15 minutes. Brandy was added to preserve it and then poured into sterilised bottles. About an inch of cordial in a glass topped up with hot water will see off any cold and give you a good sleep too.

Blackberry and Elderberry Cordial.

Hawthorn berries are also ripe now. They can be dried for tea and used in combination with other fruits to make jellies. Damsons too are ripe and make great jam , chutney and jellies. Jelly is great if you don’t want the bother of stoning the fruit or if the fruit is very small.

Collecting elderberries.

Rosehips, crab-apples, wild plums and all sorts of other treasures are out there in the hedgerows at the moment. Not many people bother with any of it so it is all there for the taking. When going out walkin, driving or cycling always take a bag with you, you never know what treasure you may come across.

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