Wednesday, 28 July 2010

I got sunshine in a bag.

I'm guessing that Gorillaz didn't have Rowan berries in mind when they talked about sunshine in a bag but look at that photo and tell me it's not appropriate. The children and I gathered about 4lbs this afternoon having learned our lesson from last year when we left it too late and were faced with several treeloads of old, wizened berries. I've waited almost a year to taste Rowan jelly so it'd better not disappoint!

The big discovery of the day though was a Mulberry tree. That kind of makes up for the loss of our Quince tree to municipal tidy mindedness last year and, rather neatly, this one was a Xanthe spot ("Blackberries Mummy!") to Willow's initial Quince tree spot.

We didn't recognise it outright, it's like nothing I've seen before. A towering, full size tree with what appeared to be large red and black blackberries tumbling from the boughs and plopping softly onto the grass below. I took some fruit and leaves home and 5 minutes on Google images identified them for me. The plan is to go back next week (after our action packed weekend) and fill as many ice cream tubs as we can get our hands on, then it's Mulberry cook-a-thon ahoy. I haven't actually tasted them yet as by the time I got them home and identified them, they were looking a bit battered, but there seem to a lot of people out there on t'interweb who rate them highly.

I reckon Apple need to come up with a new i-phone app. A bit like that mobile phone thing where you can play some music to your phone and it identifies the track for you. When in the field one should be able to photograph a random wild fruit, send it to a website somewhere and get an instant, reliable id back so you know whether to add it to your picnic or give it a wide berth. (you can have that for free Apple, though a complementary i-phone wouldn't go amiss)

Anyhoo - this year's preserve wish list is below. This is a list of everything I either made and considered a huge success last year, or missed an opportunity to make and want to try in 2010. Hopefully there will also be plenty of ad hoc foraged gluts to deal with along the way too.

Courgette Pickle (done)
Apple and blackberry butter
Pickled damsons
SeaBuckthorn jelly (the gelatine kind, not the preserve kind)
Rowan Jelly
Sloe Jelly with Port
Red Wine Jelly
Cherry Plum chutney
Cherry Plum cordial
Blackberry and elderberry cordial
Plum Ketchup
Sloe Jelly
Pears in Cider/Red Wine/Perry


  1. Now that is serendipity - I was only talking about Mulberries the other day - never having seen one - have recipes but never seen and never tasted. Good luck and let me know



  2. Well thats a huge list....I made plenty of jams last year but that was about all...I don't think i will be making too much this year either but hopefully next year with the trees and shrubs baring plenty there will be lots more variety for me to play with.

    Oh and what a great idea for an apple should patent it and become!

  3. What is Seabuckthorn?

  4. Seabuckthorn on Wikipedia:

    Quite a lot of it grows near my Parents in Law house. Hugh FW has a recipe for Seabuckthorn Jelly on the Channel 4 website. I've never tried it but am quite keen to give it a go.

  5. Hi Tracey,

    Do you want recipes for the Mulberry? I have recipes for Mulberry Muffins; Mulberry Clafoutis;Mulberry and Pear Upside Down pudding;Mulberry and Peach Summer Pudding; Mulberry and Apple Ice Cream; Mulberry Yoghurt Ice;Mulberry Jam; Mulberry and Apple Jelly; Mulberry Syrup. PM me at and will send through.

    All these recipes come from Fruits of the Hedgerow by Charlotte Popescu ISBN 1-899470-27-1. If you haven't come across her books they are not too expensive I think I paid about £6.99 for my copy and they are worth their weight in gold

    Apparently Mulberries don't travel well that's why we don't see them commercially. there are two varieties the white and the black. The black are better flavoured. They also stain quite badly anything they come into contact with

    Hope this helps

    Kind regards

    Tricia aka pattypan

  6. Thanks Tricia, got my Mulberries today so I will mail you.