These next few weeks see the last of nature’s fruits before mid Autumn sets in and the leaves fall. Sloe berries are currently in abundance and there is still time to pick and prepare ready for some delicacies. Freeze berries on baking trays then add to spirits, along with sugar to make wonderful tipples for Christmas. Add lime, other berries or herbs such as rosemary or thyme for an extra depth of flavour and pair with lemonade, tonic, mulled wine or even champagne for a great festive drink.
Sloe berries can also be used in food, teamed with sweeter fruits such as apples (due to their extreme sour taste) jellies and sorbets can be made, and don’t throw away those boozy sloes! Extract them from the liquor and pop a few into melted dark chocolate for an unusual treat, or pop them into cider to infuse if you dare! Here are a few recipe suggestions for the hedgerow treats:
Sloe Whiskey, Jam and Sorbet
Sloe Jelly for cheese and meats
If you look in the sunniest corners there are a few fleeting blackberries, although said to have been tainted with “devils wee” as its past St Michaelmas Day, September 29. According to Christian mythology, this day is the anniversary of the date Lucifer was chucked out of heaven and he likes to mark the occasion by peeing over everyone’s blackberry bushes. However the last of the blackberries are just as tasty! Add them to apple crumbles, make cakes and jams with them or freeze for mid winter treats in compotes and jellys. Why not turn them into a boozy drink and add them to vodka, whiskey or gin. Here are a few alternative recipe suggestions:
Apple and blackberry crumble
Blackberry Cheesecake brownie
Apples are also ripe for picking, and 21st October marks Apple Day, a celebration of the most delicious harvest of the year. The day is celebrated in villages all over the country, where enthusiasts come together to share recipes for juice and cider, advice on how to properly grow their apples, and information on all the apple varieties available. There is often food, music and much merry making. Here are a few Apple Day events happening:
8th October – Kehelland Apple Day, Camborne, Cornwall
Killerton Apple Festival, Exeter, Devon
National Trust Apple Days
And for those budding chefs with an abundance of apples here are a few alternative recipes to try from your average apple pie!
Savoury Apple Gruyere Tarts
Sweet Potato, ginger and Apple Cobbler
Rustic Apple Galette with Butterscotch