Continuing the theme of my recent trips foraging in the woods behind our home, I finally got round to creating my latest flavoured vinegar -Elderberry Vinegar.
Since we began with foraged fruits alone, we have made Sloe Vodka, Blackberry Vinegar, Blackberry and Apple Crumble, Blackberry Brandy and now Elderberry Vinegar.
Elderberries are much tougher that blackberries and therefore the vinegar cannot be cooked in the same way. Instead the elderberries need to be baked in the oven with the vinegar and sugar to extract the most from every berry by allowing them to burst.
Once the vinegar has been bottled, it can be used as a great salad dressing and with cheese too as an alternative to the Blackberry Vinegar.
8ozs of Elderberries
Half pint of white wine vinegar
4ozs caster sugar
1. Place the ingredients in an oven proof dish and cook in the oven for an hour and a half @ 150C (300F).
2. Let the mixture cool and strain the liquid through a sieve before bottling.
and in the vinegar it seems!
After enjoying another hour of foraging for fruits in our local wood as we promised ourselves, we ended up with another 2 pounds of blackberries, 2 pounds of sloes and half a pound of elderberries.
Once home we started the cooking and baking process, with my girlfriend making me a Blackberry and Apple Crumble for the first time ever, while I attempted to make mum’s recipe of Blackberry Vinegar.
The smell around the house of cooking blackberries was so intoxicating! All our pots and pans were taking on a deep red glaze as was the sink when it came to washing them all.
Having never made anything like this before I think the results were fantastic. We had some of the blackberry vinegar with some salad leaves and brie to start and had some of the delicious crumble for pudding. I am now converted into home baking especially with home grown and foraged produce. I am already looking forward to supper tonight as more of the crumble will be enjoyed!
Now to decide what to do with the sloes and elderberries…
First read… Proof is in the pudding…
1 large cooking apple
1 tabelspoon caster sugar for the fruit
4ozs Gluten free flour
2ozs Stork/Cooking margarine
3 tabelspoons demerara sugar
Oats for the topping
Use a pre greased oven proof dish for best results.
Preheat oven to 180C/350F Gas 4 or 170C Fan Oven.
1 Cut the apple into bitesize chunks and place in a non stick saucepan along with the blackberries. Add some boiling water and the tablespoon of caster sugar and heat until the apples are soft but have some bite.
2 While thats cooking, mix the flour and cooking margarine in a mixing bowl and sift it through your fingers until it resembles a breadcrumb consistency.
3 Add the 2 tablespoons of demarara sugar to the pasty mix and stir in well.
4 Place the warmed fruit into the greased oven proof dish and cover with the pastry mix.
5 Level the pastry mix with a fork and add a tablespoon of demarara sugar to the topping.
6 Finally add some oats over the top of the dish. Most coeliacs are not allergic to oats if they are not eaten everyday (Source: Coeliacs Society).
7 Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 mins or till the topping is golden brown.
Serve with either cream or custard.
First read… Urban foraging
12ozs of Blackberries
Quarter teaspoon of peppercorns
1 Cinnamon Stick
Half pint of white wine vinegar
6ozs caster sugar
Bring all the ingredients to the boil gently and then pour them though a strainer.
Add the cooled vinegar to a vinagrette bottle and use as a dressing over salads etc.
When I was younger, the idea of being dragged out for the afternoon fruit picking with the family was as much fun as going to the dentist. But recently, with the advent of TV shows like River Cottage, ‘foraging/fruit picking’ has become a growing trend, which I got suprisingly hooked by when going for a walk this afternoon (saturday) in the woods behind our home.
We started to notice bush upon bush of untouched blackberries within a few minutes of our walk, so abrubtly turned round, picked up a container and went back to start filling it. Within only a few minutes, we had collected just under a pound of blackberries and were already deciding what to do with them.
When we got back home we decided that we would try to make three things from them all:
Blackberry and Apple Crumble (Gluten Free)
the last two being more of mum’s suggestions and recipes. Over the next few days I will add the recipes on here, once I have tried them out.
Now I realise why we were dragged around picking fruit as children, as you cannot find fruit this fresh in your local supermarket!
On the walk home, we also noticed bushes of sloes and elderberries, so if tomorrow is fine weather, I think another walk is in order. Already have some ideas as to what to do with them!