Saturday, 29 August 2009

Just a Quick Boast ...

..... about my fabby foraging day!

Yesterday Sophie very kindly let me loose on her plum tree so I now have a small mountain of sweet and delicious plums to process. I'm planning on pickling most of them. Last year I pickled some Japonica Quince and blackberries, at the time I was somewhat disappointed and as a result they've languished, unloved, at the back of the pantry. I dusted them off the other day with the intention of chucking the fruit and re-using the jars but luckily I decided to taste some first. Giving the fruit time to mature has transformed them, it's hard to convey how lovely they are, the Quince have a rich, deep, complex taste, spicy and Christmassy. It's going to be hard convincing people that there's no alcohol in there! The blackberry vinegar is a revelation, I imagine a generous splosh would be nice added to slow cooked shin beef. So pickled plums for next year it is.

Inspired by Hugh Watson on Twitter we picked some elderberries this afternoon with the intention of making apple and elderberry pie at some point over the weekend and then swung by the pear tree we spotted the other day. We nibbled a few by the road, trying to decide if they were ripe or whether they needed a bit more time. We couldn't decide so picked what we thought was a small bowlful for further consideration at home. Highlight of the day was my stunt involving transforming grabby thing into a giant catapult and firing a pear halfway down the field while the kids watched open mouthed.

Back home the 'small bowlful' turned out to be more akin to a bathful so, ummm, pickled pears too I guess. But for the moment I'm putting all fruit out of my mind and concentrating on Warrington Wolves - Come on the Wire!


  1. I have to say...I have never pickled it pickled in vinegar the same as onions??? How do you eat it when you open it???

  2. Lol! Have to admit I was dubious but I put my faith in good old Marguerite Patten. The vinegar is sweetened heavily to make a sweet/sour syrup and spices are added too. I was a bit 'meh' when we ate them after a couple of months but now they're much, much better. They taste quite alcoholic, even though they're not.

  3. How do we eat them? Well the quince go really well on a cheese board and last night we ate them with vanilla ice cream. I'm thinking of chopping a few to mix with fresh fruit in a crumble.

  4. My parents have a wild pear tree near them. The pears look a bit like a Comice, but we've never managed to eat one or use in any preserves as when they are ripe they are just tasteless meally mush. The local wildlife seem to like them though!

  5. Oh that's a shame (well, not for the wildlife I guess!). We struggled to tell if these are ripe or not as we don't know if they're a hard or soft variety but they look rather like a conference. They're kind of hard but taste good and are sweet so who knows. We thought we'd go back next weekend and see if they're any different.

  6. I love blackberry vinegar and tend to pour it over couscous or quinoa salads in the winter to ward off the flu bugs.

    Some wild pears are only suitable for cooking, great in red wine or spices or for making Perry.
    Glad you are having fun with your foraging.