If the recent lockdown has taught us anything it’s that we don’t need nearly as much as we are used to having. Although going out for dinner and drinks at the weekend are still a welcomed treat, more and more of us connected with nature over the lockdown months and if you are anything like us, enjoyed the local woodland walks full of fruit and nut trees. Foraging for food is also a great way to save on money, before you do however we’ve pulled together a code of conduct for foraging within public woodlands:
Crab apples, blackthorn berries (sloe), rowan, hawthorn, elderberrys and hazel are all great species to forage. These native trees and shrubs grow well in both urban and countryside areas.
Rowan and crab apples are small deciduous trees that grow well in urban green spaces and are perfect for a small- medium sized back garden. Cooking with crab apple will get you some delicious apple crumble/ pie and rowan berries can be turned into jelly (that goes great meat like lamb and venison).
Blackthorn and hawthorn are often used as hedging plants and can be seen along the edges of fields and public walkways, a perfect excuse to grab a bucket and take the kids on a walk. Hawthorn berries can be made into a jelly too, making it a great accompaniment to cheese (and wine – if you are over 18!). Blackthorn & elder berries make wonderful liquors, both go very well with gin.
The hazel tree you will find in local woodlands but you may be lucky to get a handful as they are the squirrels favourite. If you are lucky enough to get some you can make a whole host of tasty treats, our favourite is a chocolate hazelnut spread.
In recent years there has been a lot of emphasis of the importance of bees. To celebrate World Bee Day we wanted to tell you why bee’s are so important to our ecosystem.
The main reason bee’s are so important to us is because they pollinate the vast majority of the food we harvest. Approximately 80% of all flowering plants are pollinated by animals, mostly insects (which includes bees). Pollination is crucial because many vegetables, fruits and the crops that feed livestock rely on it to be fertilised. Veggies like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower reply solely on honey bees and solitary bees for pollination so without them, we could have serious crop problems. While there are other methods of pollination, like the wind, birds, bats and other insects, wild bees are among the most important pollinators because they are capable of pollinating on a much bigger scale.
As pollinators, bees play a part in every aspect of the ecosystem. They support the growth of trees, flowers, and other plants, which serve as food and shelter for a number of creatures both big and small.
Our bee mix is a great addition to any garden, this mix will provide interest and activity all year round and help our fuzzy friends continue to strive.
Pick up our ‘save the bees’ pack here!
There isn’t anything much more satisfying than harvesting your own fruit. The feeling of knowing you’ve grown something and being able to share it with your loved ones is what makes most foraging farmers like us tick!
When buying our cell grown saplings, whether it’s a gift for someone special or indeed for your own garden, planting them young makes for a greater established plant. Once established, you only have to wait a couple of years before they will start to produce flowers, and in turn, fruit!
Below we have offered up two of our favourite recipes. One for a delicious rowan and apple jelly and the other is a scrumptious elderberry jam.
1.5kg rowan berries
1.5kg crab apples
White sugar – 450g for every 600ml of strained liquid
Juice of 1 lemon
Chop the apples (no need to peel or core) and place in a large, heavy saucepan with the rowan berries.
Cover the fruits with water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the fruits are soft and broken down, this takes about 20 minutes.
Using a muslin cloth or any clean, cotton cloth, lay over a large bowl.
(now for the tricky part) Tip the pulpy fruits and liquid into the cloth and gather the edges of the cloth up together.
Tie the cloths above the bowl, you can suspend from a chair on a table or a beam.
Allow the liquid to drip into the bowl for at least 4 hours, but ideally overnight. Remember not to squeeze the cloth or the jelly with be cloudy.
Measure the juice in a jug, the pour into a pan. For every 600ml of liquid, add 450g sugar. Add in the juice of the lemon and bring it to a boil.
Boil rapidly for about 10 minutes and then test. Spoon a little jelly onto a fridge-cold plate, let it sit for a minute, then push the blob with your finger. If the surface of the jelly wrinkles then it has set. If not, boil for a few more minutes then test again.
Once it’s reached it’s setting point take it off the heat and pour into clean, sterilised jars and seal.
400g Jam Sugar
1 tbsp of Lemon Juice