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Posts Tagged ‘food from the hedgerow’

If you have been reading my previous blogs you will know that I love Autumn especially getting out for a walk and collecting leaves, seeds, nuts and fruits I simply can’t resist it. The fruits such as Blackberries and Apples can be cooked to enjoy now in Pies and Crumbles or made into jams, chutneys and preserves to savour over the next few months, the seeds and nuts can be planted and will produce new flowers/wildflowers for your garden or a new generation of trees, all that remains are the stunning colourful leaves and the seed/nut cases.

You can have lots of fun with leaves and when you have finished they can be turned into valuable leaf mould for your garden, for lots of ideas for your wonderful leaves click here. This year the Beech has produced a bumper crop of seeds (which are often called Beechnuts or Beechmasts) and as I have quite a lot of the Beech seed cases I got thinking … they are very dry, hard and often spikey just like the prickles of a Hedgehog, so why not ….

Beech Seed Case Hedgehog

Make a Hedgehog from Beech Seed Cases

What you will need

  • Dry Beech Seed Cases
  • Potatoes
  • A Cocktail Stick
  • Sticky Tack or Glue
  • Conkers
  • Black felt tip pen

What you need to do

  1. Choose a potato preferably with a flat side (to stop it rolling around) this will be the bottom.
  2. Leave one end of the potato bare for the face then make holes with your cocktail stick in rows along the back and sides inserting beech seed cases by their stalks until you have covered your potato.
  3. Draw or stick on some eyes then add the conker nose securing it in place with Sticky Tack or Glue

If you have plenty of materials why not make a Hedgehog family and arrange them on a tray/lid with some of your leaves.

Hedgehogs are busy at the moment looking for a safe place to hibernate and eating plenty of food to build them up for the winter months, why not have a go at the new free Gardening with Children Family Competition or School Competition for a chance to win a Hogitat Hedgehog House, a Field guide to Hedgehogs and some Hedgehog Food for the Hedgehogs in your garden.

The Hogitat Hedgehog House

The Hogitat Hedgehog House – a perfect winter retreat for your prickly garden friends

Have fun

Gill

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Elderflower cordial is a delicious drink from the hedgerows and the elderflowers are perfect for picking over the next few weeks. 

Best harvested on warm, sunny days this recipe is easy to follow and bottles a beautifully, fragrant taste of summer.

 

Ingredients

8 elderflower heads
400g castor sugar
600 ml water
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 dessert spoon of citric acid

Method

1. Shake, then gently rinse the elderflowers to remove any insects, and then place in a large bowl.

2. Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. 

3. Add the lemon zest and juice to the bowl of elderflowers.  Pour over the sugar-water solution, and then stir in the citric acid. Cover with a cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24 hours

4. Strain the cordial through a muslin cloth

5. Pour into bottles, screw on the lids and store somewhere cool and dark ready for use.

 

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Gathering wild food can be so much fun… and hedgerows have lots to offer.  We will be giving you plenty of ideas of what’s there to be found throughout the year. 

This week we are focusing on Sloe Berries.

Traditionally used in gin here are a couple of non-alcohlic ideas of things you can do with the humble sloe!

Making Spiced Sloe Jelly

  1. Collect around 5 lb of sloes
  2. Cover with water
  3. Add 2 cinnamin sticks and about 20 cloves
  4. Simmer until tender
  5. Tip into muslin and allow juices to drip through but don’t squeeze
  6. Add 1lb sugar to 1 pint of juice approximaitely
  7. Add 1/2 pint malt vinegar
  8. Boil until mixture begins to thicken
  9. On a cool teaspoon take a sample of the mixture and see if it begins to set as it cools
  10. When it does pour the mixture into storage jars and seal
  11. This is excellent with steak and kidney pudding, game and venison. 

Making Sloe & Apple Jelly

This recipe was kindly sent in byFrederica – so many thanks and we hope you enjoy it.

  • Cook until soft equal amounts of sloes that have been pricked with a bodkin, roughly chopped windfalls or crab apples and enough water to cover
  • Tip the mixture into muslin and leave the contents to drip into a container but do not squeeze
  • Combine the juice with sugar at a ratio of 1 pint of juice to 1 lb of sugar
  • Cook until set

When collecting berries don’t forget this handy Berry Picker.  It helps in the battle against thorns and speeds up the picking as well!

berry_picker_m

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