It’s late summer already. Sheesh. Still, got to love this time of year for all the free fruit. Spent Sunday gathering elderberries, blackberries and wild plums and making stuff. Also loads of rowan berries around, but I’ve not experimented with them (you can make wine, and a jelly which is presumably like rosehip jelly).
Elder is such a weed of a tree it’s good to get something useful out of it, in our case elderflower cordial in the spring, and elderberry cordial now. The plums I use in my friend Nadia’s excellent plum sauce recipe. It’s like a slightly spicy, fruity ketchup and well worth a try if you have a plum tree, and if you’re like me and don’t much like fruit in its natural state.
Nadia’s plum sauce (Word file).
As an aside: is foraging a totally white middle class activity? Its best known exponents are the decidedly middle class (nay posh) celebrity chef likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Valentine Warner and Thomasina Miers. While we were picking blackberries in “waste” land near our home in south London, the local black teens just stared at us like what we were doing was just plain weird, and the only other pickers we saw were a white middle class mum and her young daughter.
Before the industrial revolution moved populations to urban areas, and before the post-WWII industrialisation of farming, surely foraging for free food was an activity most people undertook? Particularly poorer people. And even today, it’s not like foraging needs to be some kind of alternative, posh rural activity, as we proved with our two kilos of blackberries (we could have got loads more) and two kilos of wild plums, all picked from plants and trees in publicly accessible urban areas. It’s a bizarre situation.