Skip to main content

Footpath Harvest














Confession: I'm cheating a bit here, and back-dating this post. We've been having such a great time exploring England - London to Shropshire to Herefordshire - that I've got more than enough to write about and not enough days to do it in. And I still have some great spots to share that we visited during our bike tour in Hokkaido. Such a difficult life I lead...

England, thankfully, is riddled with footpaths. These ancient rite-of-ways, as a good friend called them during a recent outing, are a real treasure. Not only do they afford a fantastic way to explore the countryside as well as a handy shortcut through the village, but this time of year they overflow with damson plums, black raspberries, sloes, as well as an assortment of apples and pears. So far we've made two fruit crumbles, a.k.a. fruit crisps - one with red and green plums as well as apples, and one with just apples - with another on the menu for tonight. (I think we'll give damsons a go in this one, and see what we get.) Jane made a beautiful batch of damson gin (the drink that started my love affair with that particular fruit and perhaps inspired all the shus I've since made), and we're contemplating damson cheese, too. (The sample we tried at the Ludlow Food Festival proved inspiring, to say the least. Damson cheese is, essentially, a fruit butter poured into a mold and served up in slabs like cheese.) No wonder my pants feel a bit more snug.

Comments

Anjuli said…
How absolutely delightful- it just conjures up a wonderful relaxing time of refreshment- walking through back paths- picking berries- making fruit crumbles- experimenting with recipes- WONDERFUL....it seems snug pants are a small price to pay for this priceless experience :)
Right you are, Anjuli. Although, walking the footpaths helps keep them slightly less snug, but not much. ;)
bookworm said…
This sounds heavenly. On our local Rail Trail there were elderberries. Now there are small apples (not sure if they are large crabapples or small wild apples), wild grapes and soon there will be black walnuts. I'm not sure it is legal to pick any of them. I wish I did have legal access to wild fruits, though.
I bet you could pick them, bookworm. Elderberries, I've heard here of late, make a good jam as well as nice liqueur. And I've become a big fan of the apple these days, too! I just wish I'd had time on this visit to make jam and really explore half of what is possible. Maybe next time.

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Kamakura Farmers Market: Giant Buddhas and Good Vegetables

Kamakura Farmers Market entrance A little more than an hour train ride south of Tokyo sits Kamakura. Like Kyoto and Nara, Kamakura is a former capital full to the brim with temples, shrines, and a bounty of historical sites lining its winding streets. Nestled in a cozy bay with beaches and a giant Buddha tucked amongst the rest, it's a city that invites multiple visits if not at least one. And those seeking a farmers market well-stocked with traditional vegetables, skilled growers ready to share recipes and chat about their wares, along with some nifty prepared foods to rejuvenate themselves after so many temples surely won't be disappointed, either. Kamakura Farmers Market - right side full of signs Started nearly twenty years ago, the Kamakura Farmers Market or Kamakurasui Nyogyou Rensokubaijo, runs seven days a week nearly year-round. A ten-minute walk from the station, the market is located in what at first glance looks like nothing so much as a run-down w

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l