I am an incorrigible forager. There's nothing that pleases me quite as much as finding something on my daily walks with the dog and bringing it home as chuffed as a prehistoric hunter returning to the cave with a haunch of deer over his shoulder. Honestly, I am like a child. I collect feathers, firewood and fruit, if I lived near the sea...
This year there are, alas, no walnuts.
The wet spring washed away much of the pollen from the male flowers and then a most alarming blight descended on the trees and they have struggled to recover. Happily they are showing signs of having survived but they have not produced any walnuts.
And the tiny so-sweet cherries that I pop into my mouth, crush with my tongue and savour as I walk have also been rare.
But this morning I found a bush heavy with rosehips and happily filled the pockets of my jacket with them until the dog became bored and I had to stop. And so this afternoon I made rosehip syrup. Ridiculously easy and so satisfying. Rosehips contain five times more vitamin C than oranges and the syrup is smooth and tangy and packed with goodness that may, just may, help me to fight the winter's office bugs.
So here it is, my first jar of rosehip syrup
And isn't it so lovely to be taking steps, however small, to do that which our ancestors have done since those first hunter/gatherers? To take nature's bounty and store it for the winter.
How I did it...
200 gms of rosehips, washed, 'topped and tailed', blitzed in a food processor to chop them into small pieces and put in a pan with 300 mls of water.
Bring to the boil and leave to stand for 20 minutes
Sieve to remove the syrup which is poured into a jug
Then put the chopped rosehips back in the pan with another 300 mls of water and bring it to the boil, leave to stand, sieve etc
Repeat that step twice more
Then add 200 gms of sugar to the syrup and bring back to the boil
Pour into sterilized jar
Keep in a cool, dark place and once opened refrigerate and use within a few days
Can be used as a refreshing drink diluted to taste with mineral water
A perfect early morning boost