First Forages 2018

It might still look like winter out there but things are stirring in the hedges and woods. Superfoods springing up all around.

Saturday March 10th sees our first foray of the year, time to get up close to nature, Ecofarm Gort, book through website or contact me by email contact@wildfoodmary.com (no phone at moment as I’m off in Australia enjoying sub-tropical storms)

Sunday March 11th sees us back in Clareen Offaly, places available, as above book through website or contact me by email.

June, Summer Flowers

June and it IS summer, lovely word, Summer I’ll give it a capital letter, in fact as we waited so long lets have all capitals, SUMMER, yes that looks good to me (thank goodness this is not an English test )

Flower season and real summer sun to match, any countryside stroll is bound to bring you within range of the heady scent of “May” or White Thorn, and the Gorse and Broom and still blooming on mountain and bog though quickly going to seed.

Elderflowers that we all know and love are just appearing in my area, 3 more days I’d say. The fab Rosa Rugosa or Japanese rose is also appearing and while more an escapee or result of municipal or roadside planting deserves attention where it is abundant and there is no evidence of spraying nearby.

Even the humble and much maligned Dandelion is still about and if I  don’t get to gather flowers or mow , birds love to feed on the seed heads, a pair of Goldfinches or Blackcaps can only gladden all but the most pernickity gardeners heart, or maybe that’s my excuse for the jungle that currently surrounds my house.

Red Clover is also blooming and the bumble bees are busy feeding on it.

Wild fruit trees are also blooming or just finished and fingers crossed that they have had favourable conditions for pollination and the fruit will “set”

So with all this heavenly scented bounty about it’s time to get gathering and go all girly and pretty, try your hand at the Rose Petal Butter Biscuits which you could cut into pretty heart shapes as Tamasin Day-Lewis does in her book Supper for a song. Or a simple delicate flower scented jelly, make in small batches and pot in small pretty pots or I used small glasses and sealed with cling, adding a petal to each glass. These will be used up quickly so not worried about keeping time. Then there are cordials and syrups to make for little folk and maybe a demijon of wine.

Even if you do nothing but sit back and breathe in the scent of the flowers, enjoy, enjoy.

Dandelion Wine

At last the spring flowers are beginning to appear and not only do they lift the spirits mightily but they can be used to make some very pretty and useful things from syrups, wines, jellies to the very delicate and pretty crystallized

Julie's dancing flower fairy

Julie’s dancing flower fairy

flowers to decorate desserts and cakes.

If you have never made homemade wine a flower wine is a good starting place as they are easy and drinkable fairly soon after bottling, nothing as nice as a glass of flower wine to sip on a sunny day.This recipe is based on one from Peggy Hutchinson and you can try it with a combination of flowers like Gorse blooms, Mayblossom,Elderflower blossom.

Dandelion Wine

Per demijohn (5to 6 bottles)

5litre of dandelion flowers,cleaned of stalks and calyx.

5 liter water,

 

1 Orange, zest and juice,

2 lemons zest and juice,

1.5kg sugar,

450 grams raisins,

Sachet of wine yeast or baking yeast,

demijohn and airlock.

  • Pick flowers on a sunny day as dandelions close at night and in rain.
  • bring water to boil, in batches if necessary and pour over the blossom.
  • Stir and leave to infuse for 3 days, stirring now and then.
  • Strain and squeeze out blossom.
  • Put liquid, raisins, sugar,zest, juice into large saucepan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  • Bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes, allow to cool to blood heat.
  • Strain into sterilized demijohns and air lock.
  • Leave to ferment in a warm place, where temp is fairly constant.
  • Rack after about 3 weeks and allow to ferment to finish.This varies from 3 to about 6 weeks.
  • Leave to clear for 2 weeks.
  • Siphon into sterilized bottles  label  and leave to mature for 3 months.

This is lovely chilled and served half and half with prosecco. Last year’s Gorse blossom wine is our current favorite. If  you need help or advice on wine making please send queries, have fun.

 

 

 

 

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