Autumn pickings

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Berries for gin

The nights are drawing in and jumpers will soon be dug out of the wardrobe. But autumn doesn’t have to be depressing, especially if you know how to make the most of what it has to offer.

Last year I posted about my sloe berry picking escapades, and I enjoyed the giddy, addictive results so much that missing the opportunity to collect a glut of berries for sloe gin again this year was just inconceivable.

Marriots way was once again our hunting ground of choice, and fortunately a few passers by pointed us in the best direction for collecting the super sour purple fruits. Unlike last year, when my hands were torn to shreds, I managed to escape with minimal scarring. Result!

Of course, sloe berries aren’t the only goodies to be gifted to us by the onset of the colder months. Apples now abound, and thanks to the pretty miserable summer we have had, it looks like this year we will have a bumper crop. Scrumping is an age-old tradition in the countryside, but although I am not recommending sneaking into people’s gardens and orchards to pilfer, there’s nothing wrong with picking up the spoils found lying around on a walkway. We found loads of abandoned fruit hidden among the leaves on a recent walk, so we took advantage and filled our pockets. Of course, the apples HAD to fall among the nettles and brambles, so my smugness at avoiding injury while sloe berry picking quickly disappeared, particularly when my leg was speared by some very vicious thorns. But the apples were worth it! We also managed to gather a few from our tiny tree in the garden. It’s well worth keeping an eye on neighbours who have more established trees – often they are happy to part with some,  while others will put a box outside their door for you to help yourself from.

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Scrumped apples and apples from my garden

Now is also prime blackberry picking season, so search among the hedgerows for the juiciest selection. After all, what’s better than an apple and blackberry crumble?

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