Liz Reid is one of Lancaster’s keen foragers. She makes so many foraged preserves, she now coordinates Lancaster’s Swap Stall. This stall allows Liz and other preservers to swap homemade goodies, leading to diverse collections of jams, chutneys and vinegars rather than 20 jars of raspberry jam!
Liz talks about her love for foraging and preserving in this week’s food column…
“I first started foraging when I discovered a patch of elderflowers along Lancaster’s beautiful canal, whilst on a late spring-day walk. I collected the flowers and made a simple recipe of elderflower cordial. It was simply lush and I was overwhelmed by the abundance of elderflowers on my front doorstep. I quickly marked the date of my elderflower harvest in my diary for the following year.”
“From there on I started to notice the abundance of fruit and berries along the country lanes around me, just waiting to be discovered, picked and preserved. I found shiny blackberries and rose hips amongst the hedgerows; wild sloes near the elderberry trees, and bilberries on Clougha Pike in the Forest of Bowland. I found it therapeutic picking berries in the fresh air, in the sunshine and its warmth.”
“I got into the habit of deviating on my journey home from work to forage for berries and conjure up interesting preserves. It offered me a balance to my day job and all that mental activity. Foraging was simple, easy and rewarding.”
“I could admire the results of my work quickly and enjoy nourishing cordials made from elderflowers, elderberries, blackberries, blackcurrants and rosehips. I began making herbal remedies to keep away the winter illnesses- winter cordials full of spices, herbs and vitamin C. There is nothing more nourishing than drinking a glass full of berry cordial fresh from the lanes with no additives or preserves. And its even better when you can share it with friends!”
“Autumn is probably the peak of the berry abundance. There are wild raspberries, elderberries, blackberries, rosehips, sloes and damsons. As the days get shorter, the harvesting begins.”
“If you feel the urge to forage, I suggest you start with a simple compote made from 1 pint of wild raspberries, ¼ pint of water and 1 cup of sugar. Simply boil the water; add the raspberries and sugar and reduce for 25 to 45 minutes to obtain a thick consistency. I like to eat this raspberry compote with thick Greek yogurt in the morning. It sets me up nicely for the day!”