Sunday, 6 April 2008

Fruit and Foraging

I think Simon and I will be dreaming fruit tonight - we've had a mega-fruit planting session this week-end and hope over the coming years to be fairly self sufficent in fruit. We now have an orchard of 14 trees - apples, pears, plums, a medlar and cherries plus a soft fruit area with white, black and red currants, gooseberries, raspberries, jostaberries, worcesterberries, tayberrries and loganberries. That should make up for the fact that we had to clear most of the brambles out of the hedges when laying them, so we might be a bit short on home-grown blackberries this year. At least there are plenty in the local hedgerows and we are still eating those that I froze in the autumn. For nuts we have a cobnut and a walnut although the latter is yet to be planted as there is a slight discussion in the Hill household as to it's location! We also plan to have kiwi's, figs, grapes, apricots and peaches but as these need sunny south facing walls or trellis they will have to wait until we have done more work on the houses/garden.

With the fruit and veg gardens still in their infancy (and we had snow today so that won't speeed things along) I'm busy foraging along the local paths for foodie items. Nettles are favourite with nettle soup being very welcome in this cold spell. I have been given a recipe for "bubble and sting" using nettles instead of cabbage which I might have a go at soon and I've also made leek and wild garlic risotto which was delicious. Simon had made nettle soup last year and I have always picked blackberries but I am now getting a lot more adventurous, thanks in part through advice and recipes on two of my favourite websides - Downsizer ( and Selfsufficientish ( And with French pharmacists able to identify the edible from the inedible fungi I hope to branch out even more over the coming months.

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