September is a wonderful month for foraging. There are so many jewels to be found in the hedgerows and woods at this time that you are sure to return with a bounty.
Foraging is about more than the primal hunter-gatherer desire. Foraging is mindfulness. As we walk in nature, searching for food, we are quieting the mind and focusing on the task at hand. We have no ultimate destination, we are merely wandering, which is very relaxing for the mind too. We are totally immersed in our natural surroundings, the sounds, the smells, what we see, what we touch, even what we taste. All our senses are heightened. Foraging is all encompassing for mind and spirit. So, grab a basket, some gloves and some scissors and get out there!
In September and beyond you will find blackberries, sloes, rosehips and haw berries. Lots of colourful berries that are full of goodness. Preserving this goodness will see you through the winter in nature’s natural medicine. I have the perfect immune boosting recipe this month.
Do ensure that when you are foraging you know what you are picking as not all berries are suitable for consumption and could leave you with unwanted tummy upsets or worse. If you are not familiar with the berries, go along with someone who is, and get a good identification book for wild food. The phone apps that are now around for identifying plants are not always accurate. You need to identify the leaves – their shape and formation, the tree or bush – its branches and trunk, its location and how the berries are formed. That way you can be confident in a positive identification.
For this recipe try and collect a selection of the above berries. I would recommend that you freeze the rosehips and the sloes overnight. This will help to break down the berries and imitate nature (these berries are best after the first frosts)
Foraged berry shrub
What you will need:
A large bowl and plate that covers the bowl
Food processor or blender
Muslin bag or a sieve and piece of muslin or fine cloth
Clean, sterilised bottles
Approximately 1 kilo of fruit
Sufficient cyder vinegar to cover the fruit (around 750ml to 1 litre)
Sugar, honey or sugar alternative if required
After about a week to 10 days when the vinegar is a deep, rich colour pour the contents into a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Turn off and leave to cool. Once cool you can strain the juice through your muslin bag into a large jug. Really squeeze out the berries. Strain the juice a second time, measure the volume and return to a clean pan if you wish to sweeten the vinegar. You can just use the vinegar as it is if you prefer not to sweeten it. If you do this, I recommend that you refrigerate or freeze the vinegar to use as you need it.
For the volume of the liquid, I would add at least 75% equivalent in sugar (so for a litre of juice, 750g of sugar). Heat the liquid, add the sugar (you can use honey or sugar alternative and sweeten to taste. Again I would freeze or refrigerate if using these alternatives). Once the sugar has dissolved, simmer until it thickens and reduces slightly (10 to 15 mins), then decant to hot sterilised jars (remove any scum and if necessary, strain into the bottles using muslin). If you prefer it sweeter then add more sugar up to the equivalent of the liquid volume.
You can use the vinegar in many ways. As a salad dressing, add to alcoholic drinks, drizzle on fruit and ice-cream, drizzle on pancakes, add to a casserole or gravy or simply drink it. If you do not like vinegar, then you can add the berries to gin or vodka and strain following the above method. If you prefer to retain the alcoholic content, do not heat, and add sugar at the beginning of the process to the fruit (you will find you will only need around 300-400g of sugar for this method).
Untamed Soul is a Community Blog Platform to encourage others to share their wisdom and light with the world.
Would you like to Feature or blog for Untamed Soul? Apply by clicking the link below!
Sign Up for Our Free
Monthly Newsletter! It's sure to bring alittle peace & positivity to your inbox!