Sunday 20 September 2009

More hedgerow tonics

At the last meeting of the Mercian Herb Group I took along a bottle of my newly made blackberry, apple and rosehip syrup. Those who tried it, asked for the recipe.

Blackberry, apple and rosehip syrup
1lb blackberries
1 large double handful of rosehips
3 medium size cooking apples (preferably windfalls)
1 cinnamon stick
½ grated nutmeg
1 pint of water
Sugar or honey
Peel, core and slice the apples. Wash blackberries and rosehips and place in a large saucepan with the apples and spices. Just cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until everything is soft and mushy (around 40 minutes or so depending on the ripeness of the rosehips). Liquidise the contents of the saucepan, strain and measure the volume. Clean the saucepan and return the puree to the pan together with a suitable amount of either sugar or honey working on 1lb sugar/honey to 1 pint puree. Heat until sugar or honey is dissolved into the puree. Pour into heated sterile bottles and seal with screw top lids. Label and date.

Here are two more honey recipes. You will probably want to strain your honeys before using them.

Rosehip honey (Gail Faith Edward's recipe)
2 large double handfuls of fresh rosehips
1 jar of runny honey
1 large glass jar
Wash the rosehips and remove any stalks of dried bits of flowers. Put the fresh rosehips in a liquidiser and process for 30 seconds or so until they are in very small bits. Scrape all the rosehips into the glass jar and slowly pour on the runny honey, stirring as you go to remove all the air bubbles. (If you pour too fast it will stay on top of the rosehips and end up on the work surface). Seal the jar with a screw top lid tightly. Keep in a warm place e.g. a sunny windowsill for 4-6 weeks.

Mint honey (Kiva's recipe)
Pick several large handfuls of mint – preferably stalks which have not flowered yet or new side shoots. Remove each leaf and place in a 1lb glass jar. Every so often, cut up the mint leaves with a large pair of scissors inside the jar. When the jar is filled with chopped mint leaves, add the grated rind and juice of one lemon. Carefully pour runny honey over the mint leaves in small batches, mixing with a chop stick every time to remove air bubbles. Add as much honey as you can. Seal the jar with a screw top lid tightly and place in a warm place for a month or so.

Don't worry when the infused matter, whether blossom, leaves, or dessicated roots floats to the top of the honey. If your lid is secure, try turning it upside down ever so often so the top of the contents are covered.

I've made 2 small jars of horseradish root honey and one of elderberry honey this weekend. It's best to keep the elderberry honey in the fridge whilst infusing so it doesn't start to grow mold. It is your choice whether or not you strain the elderberries or horseradish out before using. I keep them in. Chris mutters about "having bits floating around" in his cider vinegar, but I like to chew them. The elderberries are wonderfully sweet at the end of your drink!


Rowan said...

The blackberry, apple and rosehip syrup sounds lovely. I've just got to get to one of your workshops soon!

Sarah Head said...

Hi Rowan, we'll be doing teas, syrups etc at the November workshop in my kitchen (14th). Let me know if you'd like to attend. Hope you have a wonderful time in the States.

Heather said...

Hi Sarah, my youngest son and I made rosehip "syrup" today using cooked rosehips and then used the leftovers in a tincture. I will give your recipe a try too as I'd like to have lots on hand this season. I wonder if the hairs strain out quite well or do they tend to get "stuck" in the honey?

Sarah Head said...

Hi Heather, I've just started to use my rosehip honey and have been thinking I should really have halved the hips and removed the seeds and hairs before I put them in the liquidiser. If I had done so I could have just chewed the bits of rosehip and swallowed them. As it is, the seeds are way to hard to chew, so I'm thinking I will strain any tea I add the honey too before drinking. Having said all that, the flavour of the rosehip honey is wonderful and well worth all the surrounding "challenges".