Monday, October 13, 2014

Beautiful Berries

Hubby's parents are coming to stay with us for a few days this coming weekend, so we decided it would be nice if I made a blackberry crumble for dinner on their arrival. 
The fields around our village boundary are full of public footpaths and are our usual hunting ground for any hedgerow bounty... 

I've often made a festive wreath for our front door at Christmas time, using the foliage from our walks.

And we also collected enough material from the local fields to create the wedding flowers for my daughter's wedding two years ago
Of course autumn is the perfect time for enjoying the wonderful colours of the leaves, fruits and berries.
The branches of the blackberry briar's were laden yesterday and we soon collected enough berries to make a substantial pie! 

We came across a crab apple tree...

But it was sad to see so much fallen fruit laying on the floor, just going to waste. 

Then there were the sloes - Very fine crops weighted the trees and we decided we couldn't leave them there and not put them to use...
I've gone for the obvious and have made sloe gin and sloe vodka today.
Very straightforward to make - I've used Jamie Oliver's recipe on-line here, as it uses much less sugar than others and by freezing the fruits over night, it saves on all the pricking of them with a needle.  

After reading some of the comments to his post though, I ignored his suggestion that you shouldn't use cheap spirits! ;-))

They'll take at least 2 months to mature to a rich ruby red, perhaps in time to offer as gifts at Christmas, decanted into smaller bottles...

I have enough sloes left over to make some chutney too, so hope to tackle that later in the week - Have a good one,
Niki x

(Just wanted to bookmark this post, as the recipe sounds lovely.)


  1. I love that you have public footpaths where you can hunt for such lovely bounty! We don't have anything here like that! Everything belongs to someone who is more than ready to prosecute anyone for "stealing" their stuff, no matter they have no plans for using it themselves!

    I am curious what those red elongated berries are towards the middle of these pictures! I know I've seen them before, back when I lived in the midwest here, but can't quite place them!

    Have fun this weekend! :)

  2. You still have blackberries........? Ours are all finished. This year has been great for wild fruits and berries.
    Julie xxxxxx

  3. Hi Willow - thanks for your comment. Yes we're lucky here to have so many public rights of way...I guess its because we are an old country.

    The elongated fruits are rose hips from the pale pink wild rose (briar rose). They too can be used in cooking and are very nutritious.

    Hi Julie - thanks for your comment. Lots of the blackberries had gone over and gone to waste, but there were still plenty about and some more to come. We are quite high up here and things in our garden are always a little later than other areas of the country too.


  4. Hi Niki, I hopped over from a link to some curtains I had pinned. Nothing quite like fresh berries! I love that you can gather such gorgeous greens for wreaths. I have Huckleberries that we will be harvesting soon. Hoping to make some yummy syrup. I have never heard of sloes. It is a shame to see yummy things go to waste!


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx