The autumnal equinox on the 22nd of September not only marked the end of Summer 2020, but also signified a turning point for many foraged foods. Whilst this may be the last chance to pick some fruits, such as blackberries and elderberries, others come into their prime during the colder months of September, October and November. Early Autumn is a great time to forage, with trees heavy with fruits and nuts that have been growing during the warm summer months, such as sloes, damson, hazelnuts and rosehip. To celebrate this significant time on the foraging calendar we have collated some of our favourite hedgerow cocktail and mocktail recipes to provide inspiration on how to use these foraged fruits over the next few months, as well as ideas on how to use up the last of your summer berries.
Sloe Gin Cocktail
50ml sloe gin
25ml lemon juice
2tsp juniper syrup
500g ripe sloes
250g golden caster sugar
1 litre gin
- Prick the sloes and tip into a large glass jar
- Add the sugar and gin, seal the jar and shake.
- Shake once a day for seven days, then leave in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months
- Strain the gin through muslin and decant into clean bottles.
100g white caster sugar
1tbsp juniper berries
- Add all the ingredients into a small saucepan.
- Bring to the boil, then take off the heat and mash the berried with a potato masher
- Leave until cold, then strain into a jar.
For a non-alcoholic alternative try making a Sloe Cordial instead of gin
1/2 Lemon (Juice)
80g granulated sugar per 100ml liquid
- Add the sloes, water and lemon juice to a pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Break up the sloes with a potato masher and simmer for 10 minutes
- Sieve the mixture and measure the juice
- Add the juice to a pan, add the sugar and heat gently until dissolved.
- Boil and simmer for 10 minutes, cool and pour into a bottle
Sloe Cordial Mocktail
35ml Sloe Cordial
25ml Lemon Juice
For first time foragers, the woodland trust (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/things-to-do/foraging/) has a great resource for ensuring that you forage responsibly, with great tips on what to pick at different times of the year.