God, I love this time of year. Every year around the start of October, is foraging time for us . I usually go to my secret little woods for my crab apple hunt . And this year was a great year. As you can see, my chief forager has caught quite a lot, 5kgs in total. Last year there wasn’t one to be found due to the weather conditions.
This month I also collect sloe berries off of a blackthorn tree for my sloe gin. It takes around three months to mature. Usually ready for Christmas. This sloe gin is particularily potent and has a festive kick for good measure. The field where I go for these sloe berries has around 20 mature trees in it. This year I collected exactly 12 berries. Bad year I guess. So far my sloe gin has been shelved as I need at least a kilo for my recipe.
I haven’t really spoken much about prepping on this blog. Prepping is the art of being prepared for WTSHTF (when the s$%t hits the fan). This is a subject I love and have huge interest in. Last year I read Emergency, this book will save your life by Neill Strauss. This book is all about prepping and survival. After reading it I couldn’t believe how many of the skills I already had. I am a practicing EMS paramedic for the last 13 years and I am an avid game hunter. These two skills alone keep me ahead of the pack. This gave me a great amount of confidence about my future. Read the book to learn why.
Foraging and preserving food is spoken about a lot in the prepping world. This weekend just past I was teaching my 4 year old daughter all about it. She told me that this was great and that we didn’t need to buy apples or jam anymore. What she meant was, self-sufficiency of course. I was truly impressed.
When we got home we washed the apples and made a batch of crap apple jelly. The process is quite easy really.You just need a bit of time. Add your apples to a large pot. Cover with water. Now add:
10 whole cloves
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 in knob of fresh ginger
1tbsp ground ginger
5 whole cardamom pods
Stir all of these ingredients in. Bring to the boil and stop when the fruit starts to get soft. Take off of the heat. For the next bit you can use a pillowcase or some muslin. I find muslin best. Be sure to wash muslin with water first before using to get rid of any smells that might taint the jam. Drape your muslin or pillowcase over a large bowl and spoon in the apples. Once they are all in, tie up your muslin and let it hang over the bowl. Do not squeeze the bag. The more squeezing, the more solids in the juice, the more you will have to strain foam off the top, or the cloudier your resulting jelly.
Let it hang over night if possible.
Now measure the juice that you have gathered. A simple rule of thumb is 1kg of sugar for every litre of juice. Pour juice back into a large clean pot. I gathered 3kgs of juice so I added 3kgs of granulated sugar. Bring this mix to the boil. At first it will look cloudy but be patient and careful, boiling sugar hurts. Once your mix starts to look a ruby red colour start testing its setting stage. Do this by place a small drop on saucer and place it in the fridge for couple mins. If a skin forms on top you are ready to jar up. Before doing this make sure your jars are thoroughly cleaned. Once done place jars into a hot oven for around ten mins to get rid of any bacteria. Use a funnel to help you pour the jam. Seal the jam as soon as you are done. Let them set before using. Done correctly this jam can last up 12 months. Enjoy.P.S Note to self : Wash the windows.