....well nearly anyway! Having gathered all my fruit I just had to decide what to make with them all. I have a book called Fruits of the Hedgerow by Charlotte Popescu and I leafed through this and decided first of all to make some damson jam and hedgerow jelly. I also made some sloe gin (in a 1litre kilner jar put 225g sloes that have been pricked with a fork, 125g sugar and 70cl of gin, seal and leave in a dark place for 3months) but this will only be ready later in the year.
1.35kg granulated sugar
juice of a lemon
Wash your jam jars and lids and place the jars into a 100°C oven. Wash the damsons and then put them in a large heavy based saucepan. Add the water and bring to simmering and simmer for 30 min. Leave to cool and then try and find all the stones. You could leave then in and remove them once the jam has reached setting temperature as the will float up to the top at this point but I find it easier to remove them now. Then add the sugar and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Stirring occasionally to stop the fruit sticking and burning on the bottom of the pan boil until it reaches setting point. To test this have a plate in the fridge. Put a little of the boiling jam on to this and then place back into the fridge for a few minutes. If its set or if it forms a crust then the jam is ready for bottling. Turn off the heat and allow the jam to collapse back into the pan, skim off and scum (its just the protein that's in the fruit nothing to be alarmed about) and ladle into the hot jars. Seal whilst hot and then leave to cool.
450g haws (the fruit from the hawthorn tree)
450g crab apples
a handful of rosehips
juice of a lemon
Remove all the stalks from the fruit and rinse to remove any bugs of dried bits of flower petal from the fruit. Put all the fruit in a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to simmering and simmer until all the fruit is soft, crushing the fruit on the side of the pan. Then strain through a muslin cloth into a bowl, overnight. Discard the pulp and measure the juice. Put the liquid in a pan with 450g sugar for every 600ml juice. (I had about 900ml juice and so needed about 700g sugar) Add the lemon juice and bring the mixture to the boil, dissolving all the sugar. Boil rapidly until setting point is reached (see above) and then bottle in prepared jars (also detailed above).