So, we are now in the final quarter of our year. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely adore autumn! I even like it when the clock goes back; the mornings are lighter but the evenings are darker and this means it’s time to get cosy and, hopefully, enjoy lots of the fruits and vegetables which we’ve planted and grown or foraged in the wild!
There are still plenty of fresh and forageable plants, trees and flowers that we can use; look out for apples, elderberries and the winter raspberries that grow wild in the higher parts of Wales.
Also, there are many kinds of wild plum that are still hanging in the trees. Greengage, damsons, bullaces. Cherry plums – just keep your eyes peeled!
Sloes also belong to this family. If you ask anyone what they do with sloes, they will mention just one recipe – sloe gin! But sloes are much more versatile than this. Not only that, but these little dark fruits, about the size of a small fingernail, are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help keep us healthy. Try this recipe and see if it isn’t delicious! You can use shop-bought plums, but it’s unlikely that you will sloes anywhere but in the wild!
First, though, after finding the sloes you will need to process them. This doesn’t take long.
Put the sloes into a pan and cover with water (you will need at least 20 sloes for this recipe, but don’t worry if you find lots more because they freeze well too). Bring to the boil, then simmer until the skins start to come away from the sloes. Let them cool, then strain through a wire-meshed sieve, pressing the sloe flesh through into a bowl. Reserve the sloe stones and plant them in pots to make a mini sloe forest.
Plum Family Super Smoothie
· 500g mixture of de-stoned and de-pipped plums, apples, damsons (if you can get them) and a rough maximum of 20 sloes.
· 450g yoghurt, preferably plain
· 150ml milk of your choice
· 20g oats (optional)
· I tbspn maple syrup
· Squeeze of lemon juice
Simply put all the ingredients, except for the oats, into a blender and process until smooth.
If using oats, stir then through at the end and leave to stand for 20 minutes/half an hour, so they soften. Voila! A delicious and nourishing Autumn smoothie!
Adele Nozedar, Brecon Beacons Foraging