This Autumn has produced a prolific amount of fruits and berries for us all to feast on. Its one of my favourite times of year, as you see the bees making their final forages to prepare a good store for the winter, we get to pick the fruits of the forest and hedgerows.
I have enjoyed getting out into nature with the rich warm Autumnal colours and then making all sorts of jams and juices.
This year we have gone long on green gauge jam using the fruit from our tree in the beefayre garden. I have started getting quite creative, some have a spicy twist and others with vanilla for extra flavour.
But my most recent forage has involved the beautiful rosehip berry. People are often put off using these rosy buds as they are known for their tiny irritant hairs! But when making syrup just remember to double strain with the muslin.
Rosehip syrup is packed with hedgerow goodness and contains twenty times more vitamin C than in oranges! During World War Two due to the lack of citrus fruits the government encouraged everyone to make rosehip syrup.
It has a warm floral, fruity flavour and can be used as a cordial, drizzled over your morning porridge, as an extra special ice cream sauce and I have even recently dipped my eggie bread into this sweet goodness!
Here is a classic recipe I used from River Cottage for making Autumn’s finest hedgerow syrup.
Sterilise a couple of bottles and vinegar-proof screw-tops or stoppers by washing thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinsing well, then putting them on a tray in a low oven (at 120°C/Gas 1⁄2) to dry out and heat up.
Roughly chop the rosehips in a food processor in batches, then transfer to a large saucepan and add 1.25 litres water.
Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for around 15 minutes.
Strain through a double layer of muslin, letting the pulp sit for a good half hour so that all the juice passes through.
Wash out the muslin, or cut a fresh piece, fold to double it and pass the strained juice through it again.
Measure the rosehip juice into a large saucepan.
For every 500ml, add 325g sugar.
Heat slowly, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes, skimming off any scum if necessary.
Decant immediately into the prepared bottles and seal.
Label when the bottles have cooled completely.
Use within 4 months and refrigerate once opened.