A day of plundering this weekend, and what a plunder it turned out to be. We sneaked over to our 'secret' sloe berry location anticipating disappointment after last year's wash out. And there before our eyes were bush after bush of the acrid berry that somehow transforms gin into liquid gold and, quite possibly, my favourite drink.
After plucking several kilos of sloes, the trip home became bonus time as we came across damsons aplenty. A quick shake of the branches and it rained wild plums onto our heads. Nature has more than made up for last year's harvest drought.
It helps to have a few little ones in tow when it comes to gathering fruit. Make sure they have some protective gloves on and away you go. With elderberries and brambles being thrown into the mix too, we eventually came home with more fruit than you can, erm, shake a tree at.
The sloe gin can wait until next week but the other wild fruit went into the pot for some loose jam ready for the yoghurt and muesli, porridge, hot muffins and one or two cakes and scones. There is something uniquely satisfying having made something almost for free and that pleasure doubles when you can have fun with your friends and family during the process. Happy days...
Wild Fruit Jam
Makes one large jar
1kg of wild fruit such as damsons, brambles, elderberries and sloes
200g caster sugar
1 - Put a couple of clean jars with the lids off onto a hot oven and heat through for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave in.
2 - Put the fruit and sugar into a pan and bring to the boil. Give it a stir then fast boil for 10 minutes.
3 - Take out your hot jars then push the jam through a sieve into the jam jars. Put on the lids and once cool, refrigerate. The jam should keep for 4 weeks.