Monday, 3 August 2015

Beautiful Backberries

The Head Chef has been working her magic again. Using the stockpile of Tayberries from our allotment, Strawberries and a load of Redcurrants from my Mum's garden, she created the quintessential Summer Pudding... Yum!
Fortunately, I managed to persuade her to omit the Blackcurrants that we also picked, but which I cannot abide and these were summarily transformed into several jars of jam.
By the time you have finished picking your plump plums, eaten your pies and stashed the jam, and chutney safely away in the larder, you will soon notice that there is a positive glut of beautiful Blackberries in the hedgerows near you.
Suddenly those prickly invasive briars and knobbly green fruit have become the source of everyone’s favourite seasonal fruit. The nation’s mind turns fondly toward towards picnics and Blackberry picking. During the Summer holidays, almost everyone becomes a forager, if only a short while.
At the same time, if you look closely, you will notice the emerald green Hazelnuts ripening in the Hazel bushes. They are well camouflaged, but if you lift the leaves, you will see them nestling amongst the foliage.
When you observe the squirrel nibbled shells on the pavement, you know that the time is nearing for harvesting these delicious - nutritious nuts. They should ripen toward the end of August - beginning of September. 
It is easy to gather vast amounts of ripe brown Hazelnuts, as long as you pay attention, identify the trees and remember where they are; they will keep well and can be used in many different ways.
Elderberries will be ripening around this time too. I normally make wine from them but there are many more recipes to be utilised and there is never a shortage of these shiny purple black beauties, as long as you get there before the blackbirds.

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