Foraging it has to be said is in my blood. My mother as a young girl would climb into a cart pulled by the family farm horse and with friends and relatives and an ample picnic would set off on the annual Autumn 'nutting party'. It was an event which was eagerly anticipated by both young and old although keen eyes were needed to spot tricky nuts hidden under leaves.
We don't have 'nutting parties' anymore unfortunately (boo, hiss), but that's not to say our countryside isn't bursting with berries and other delectable goodies waiting to be discovered. With my children at school, a beautiful warm and sunny day and a few hours to spare, the hedgerows started calling.
Hiking boots on (stinging nettle defenders in my case), with bags at the ready it was time for the off. Walking along the country lanes, the sun on my face with peace and quiet, I felt quite simply - happy. This year the hedgerows were almost groaning under the weight of the fruits and within a couple of hours I'd picked 3kgs of the most beautiful, dark jeweled berries, a handsome reward for the odd sting I reckon!
That evening I strained the berries which had been cooked until soft, a wonderful mix of blackberries, elderberries and sloes and then started the jelly making process. For my efforts I was rewarded with 4 jars of jelly, not a huge amount but the fun certainly made up any shortfall! In the back of my cupboard I'd noticed a rather dusty bottle. Closer inspection of the label read 'Sloe vodka, 2007, Solsbury Hill, Bath', so if you happen to bag a jar of this jelly you'll notice a slug of this ruby offering has been added to each jar!! Next week I'll be venturing into the fields again to pick some more, what a fantastic way to spend a morning!