The last week or so has been really good for foraging, we have discovered that the blackberry patch which was cleared is right next to another that was covered in ripe fruit (and accessed by only having to go right around the back car park of a local industrial estate), and even more amazing was the discovery of a Greengage bush.
The greengage is not a wild fruit so I found it hard to identify as it was not in my copy of Food for Free, but it looked like a plum didn’t seem to be changing colour from green (there were green fruit starting to rot on the branch) and when I cut it open it looked a bit like a plum. I tasted a little of one and it tasted amazing, so I went home and identified it (which is entirely the wrong way round to do it I know).
I can only guess that the tree ‘escaped’ from someone’s garden; the industrial estate car park I found it on the edge of is part of a set of buildings over 100 years old.
All the fruit I am currently gathering (except for the many I eat whilst gathering) is being put in the freezer as I don’t have the time at the moment to both gather a large amount of fruit in one go and then process it before it rots. I usually put the fruit into the freezer in a box to help it keep it’s shape along with a plastic bag with details of the fruit on it. Once the fruit is frozen (and I can take days to come back and check) I transfer it from the box to the bag to save space.
Greengages can be frozen but go soft, but that’s fine as I intend to make them into chutney or jam/ jelly.
I also made another find during the week; one morning last week I was on the train heading into London when we stopped just after a Tunnel (White House Tunnel, just near Hangman’s Wood and Highwayman’s Farm, how cool is my local area!), it turns out we had sadly hit a deer, but whilst waiting for the clean-up to happen I noticed the hedge just covered in rose-hips. I found what I thought was the best way to get there (a short drive up to a footpath and then a little walk). I went back on Saturday and of course the sat-nav failed to mention that the “road” was little more than a dirt track, so I stopped the car in the only dry patch I thought I’d be able to turn around in (a cavernous railway tunnel), put Bella on my shoulders and off we went to what turned out to be a beautiful sunlit meadow and a lovely hour or so picking rose-hips.
Of course we became covered in ants (Bella was better than me, I have real issues with ants ever since a run in with some soldier ants in Africa) but that is one of the risks I suppose….