Saturday, 20 August 2011

Urban foraging

Today we went foraging in the city and here are the fruits of our labour, literally: blackberries, sloes, elderberries and crab apples; all made into delicious preserves and sweet treats. It is highly satisfying growing your own food or going foraging and it always tastes so much more delicious.

Sloe gin is a classic and usually made with sloes picked around November after the first frost but I faked this process by freezing my sloes for a day. Once defrosted prick them with a fork and fill in a sterilized glass bottle. Add sugar and alcohol, in my case vodka rather than gin, and mix up. Agitate once every day for about 4 weeks and after that once a week for another 3-6 month. Over time the colour of the concoction will change to a deep red. Strain and keep in the dark.


75cl vodka
50g granulated white sugar
good handful of sloes

I also made crab apple, chili and rosemary jelly. Crab apples are too tart to eat but are great in a sweet or savory jelly. I only picked about 20 apples which I removed the stems and seeds of. Bring to boil with just about enough water to cover the wedges. Leave the skin on as it will be strained after anyway and the colour is so beautiful. Cook until soft and strain through a cheese cloth. The juice was enough for one jar of jelly. Even Martha Stewart likes crab apple jelly and she famously whipped up one during her time in jail with crab apples picked from trees on the prison camp grounds. Well, you just can take Martha out of the kitchen...


200ml crab apple juice
200g sugar
pinch of salt
2 small red chilies
some chopped rosemary

Boil the juice with the other ingredients for 5-10 minutes. Check for the setting point by spooning a little amount of the liquid on to a plate and wait for it to cool down. Check after a minute and if it has set. If so pour into sterilized jar and let cool down.


1 cup plain flour
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
pinch of ground cardamon
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
150g white chocolate chips
2 handfuls of blackberries

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Mix all the ingredients together but keep some of the blackberries for the top. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.

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