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Elderberries and Juniper August 30, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Books, Foodiness.
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What a misnomer this post is! The title refers to my adventures in sunny Stafford this weekend for Ben’s mother’s Birthday. Alongside socialising and general chatting, I got to do some outdoors hunter/gatherer stuff that I love doing yet never do enough. Whenever out in the real natural world picking berries and collecting summers windfall fruits, I always feel that I am doing what we humans were mean to do – and that somewhere along the line, with our agriculture and digital world, we strayed an awful long way from the path.

As it happens, we didn’t picks any elderflower, elderberries or juniper on our trip down the leafy lane in the English countryside. We did, however, collect a pound each of sloes (currently residing in our freezer to simulate their “first frost” to make them perfect for making sloe gin), and the delightful crop of little British Mirabelles. Kind of like mini golder plums or damsons, this very British crop are destined for a few mirabelle jams, mirabelle chutneys and delicious Mirabelle cakes/tarts. I am also planning to head down by the canal with Cie to harvest some rose hips (for rose-hip marmalade) and whatever else our greedy hunter/gathering hands can reach.

summer mirabelle crop

Plenty of sloe and Mirabelle recipes to follow people! And I have also just ordered a wonderful book called “Sloe gin and Beeswax“, which will give me plenty of natural countryside recipes for old classics like potted cheese (cheese, butter and brandy, what could be better?!), natural cleaning products (egg shells dissolved in vinegar, anyone?), and other such wonders. I can’t wait!

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