Saturday, 24 October 2009

Autumn berries!

The leaves are turning red, gold, brown, yellow; there's a crunchy carpet of them to scuff your feet through as you walk through the woods - must be autumn!

I had my first go at mushrooming last weekend; unfortunately the only edible ones we found had already been chomped. It seems that edibles in the woods are like the first day of the Harrods sale!

More luck is to be had with the berries. I'm spotting alluringly ripe hawthorn and elderberries just about everywhere I go, whether it be woods or Abbeydale road. Elderberry syrup is a delicious way of fending off winter colds; the berries have an anti-viral action. I pick a whole load - using a metal fork to strip them off the umbels - and cook them up with ginger, cinnamon and sugar (honey if I'm feeling rich) to make the syrup. You can have some neat (delicous drizzled over icecream!) or dilute it with some hot water. I once tried making hawthorn berry brandy but it didn't go quite right. Maybe I'll have another go this year..... Hawthorns berries and flowering tops are proven to benefit the cardiovascular system.