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Fabulous foraging finds!

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Author: Louise Williams, Posted: Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 09:00

If you’re anything like me, this time of year will bring you great joy as you can easily supplement your weekly food shop with some foraging!

We don’t go on a dog walk without a bag in my pocket ready to fill with the delicious wild fruits and berries we spot on our walks. The glinting of a shiny purple blackberry is so exciting for the kids too, it’s lovely to get them involved.

With no plastic packaging or air miles involved, foraging is a very eco-friendly way of adding to your fridge or larder. Here are just a few things you can find in hedgerows and what you can make with them. Foraging is something you can do all year round but I’ll focus on what you can find in autumn.

Blackberries: jams, cakes, tarts, pies, wine and my very own blackberry and apple crumble cupcakes on my blog Pink Pear Bear.
Hawthorn berries: they make great wine, apparently!
Sloes: these sharp purple berries are no good for eating but are particularly good for infusing into gin!
Rosehips: infuse into syrup for flavouring food, but be sure to remove the inner seeds first.
Elderberries: crumbles, tarts, jams and pies.
Hazelnuts: if you can beat the squirrels! You can use them in pies, make hazelnut butter or chocolate and hazelnut spread, or simply roast, crush them and sprinkle in yoghurt or on ice-cream.
Damsons: jams, wine, gin, vodka or just eat them straight from the tree!
Nettles: soups, tea and if you deep fry them and add some salt they make a delicious alternative to crisps.
Dandelions: make coffee or simply add the leaves to salads.

This is by no means an extensive list and you can do proper foraging courses, which are so fun. The one thing I wouldn’t ever attempt without expert guidance is mushroom foraging as that can be fatal if you get it wrong.

Remember, if you’re ever in doubt, don’t pick it – it’s better not to risk getting poorly.

Have you been inspired to go out and forage? Why not have a go at making my recipe below with your foraged finds!


Blackberry and apple crumble cupcakes
Ingredients for the cupcake mixture:
170g/6oz butter (or margarine/coconut oil)
170g/6oz caster sugar
170g/6oz self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Blackberries
4 large apples (we used cooking apples), peeled, cored and grated with the juice drained off.

For the crumble topping:
100g/4oz plain flour
50g/2oz butter, cubed
50g/2oz sugar (from what I can gather, it should be Demerara sugar but I use caster!)

Method:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C fan (350°F/gas mark 4).

2. Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases and pop four blackberries in each one.

3. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients.

4. Add the mixture to the paper cases, filling half way.

5. Rub your crumble ingredients together in a bowl until they form rough bread crumb sized chunks.

6. Add a generous handful of your crumble mix to the top.

7. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

8. Cool and enjoy! Eat them on their own or with a dollop of cream or custard!

Check out Louise’s blog for the full step-by-step method with pictures!

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