Harvesting roships for Rosehip Liqueur
We’re racing through July and Summer! I’m making plans to pick berries this week and ahead of August & September I thought I would offer 10 golden rules. Autumn in particular offers fantastic opportunities for wild berry & fruit picking. Seasonal fresh fruit can be used in a number of ways and you have the extra satisfaction of knowing you harvested it yourself. Also its free!
- Pick fruit away from roads & traffic. Plants & fruit absorb the exhaust from cars, and fruit picked from the road side will not taste good and not be good to eat/drink
- Pick fruit above the height of a dog’s leg. This is self-explanatory. If you are picking fruit in an area frequented by dog walkers, fruit lower to the ground may have been rinsed by something other than rain water. Its good practice to pick away from other animals too.
- Take a clean bag with you and/or a rigid plastic box. Soft fruits can easily be squashed and the juice can leak through bags and stain clothing and anything else it comes into contact with. Be aware that if you are using a flimsy biodegradable bag that thorns on bramble bushes can hook hold of your bag resulting in a tear and loss of your ‘pickings’
- It’s a good idea to take a hooky stick or a broken umbrella with a hooked end. It’s true that the best juiciest fruit is always just out of reach. You’ll need a hooky stick to pull it towards you. Don’t over reach for the best fruit. If you over balance you don’t want to land face first in thorns & stinging nettles.
- Most soft fruits & berries last a short while if kept cool & dark. Rinse well just before use. The fruit should be kept in shallow containers to allow the air to circulate. Any fruit which shows signs of spoiling should be discarded immediately.
- Leave fruit in open bags or containers for at least a couple of hours in a porch or table outside before preparing. This allows any hosts to evacuate. You can very quickly build up a fantastic live insect display in your kitchen if you don’t do this.
- Soft fruits are best used immediately, but if you don’t have time to do this. Remove all husks, stalks, stray leaves and other unwanted matter. Rinse in cold fresh water, and drain well. (I leave fruit over the sink in a colander for a while) When the fruit is quite dry, place in clean freezable containers and label clearly with fruit name, date, weight and where from, as you may want to return again.
- If you find a good source of wild food. Keep the location to yourself. You’re in competition with the wine, jam, pickle and crumble makers out there, as well as birds and other creatures who enjoy the fruit. Soft fruits spoil very quickly. Don’t think about it too long or the fruit will be gone.
- Be prepared to deal with jaggy thorns, stingy nettles and other stinging or biting insects. Wasps in particular enjoy feeding off sweet soft fruits. They won’t appreciate being disturbed.
And finally . . .
- Allow yourself time appreciate the surroundings, away from the desk, screen or housework. Brush up on plant, insect & bird identification. Make sure you know what you are picking and if there are any particular processes which need to be followed to make the fruits safe to digest. Hopefully you can pick a fine day & enjoy the weather too. Get back in touch with nature ☺ Enjoy the fruits of your labours!
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