October 30, 2011

FORAGING - Cranberries, Rose Hips and Mushrooms!

~Rose Hip Syrup~

Last weekend was idyllic, autumn weather and I'd heard that mushrooms were up like crazy out near the coast. Our came the foraging gear and off we went to see what we could find. October is also cranberry harvesting season here in the northwest. So, I had high hopes for the day. 

On the way, we spotted some rose bushes laden with perfect rose hips. We picked about three cups, making sure to leave plenty for the birds to enjoy. I planned to use them to make rose hip syrup for use in tea. 

When we arrived at the coast, we started looking under the shore pines just behind the dunes. There were bolete mushrooms all over the place,as well as a few chanterelles! Jim called to me from the parking lot, "See any?" "Only everywhere," I replied. We could afford to be picky and only take the freshest, least blemished ones. At the end of the day, we had over 12 lbs. of mushrooms and I had a lot of work ahead of me to fry and freeze, dry and bag and to eat now.

We broke for lunch and were served piping hot cranberry apple cider. It was utterly delicious - I had two. After lunch, we headed for the cranberry fields, hoping to buy some fresh ones. There were some people out harvesting, but not many. The cranberry rakers we use out here in the northwest were invented here, as flooding the fields as they do back east isn't practical. No one was selling cranberries, so we got out to take some photos and all along each field were scattered berries that would go to waste. So, we gathered a bag of them and I had visions of my own cranberry cider dancing in my head.  

Hot Cranberry Apple Cider - heavenly!

Bags of cranberries, ready to ship out

It was fun to find all this free food, just going out looking for it. Today, I made the rose hip syrup. The color is so rich and beautiful and the flavor is uniqely its own. Rather like persimmon, but with a little kick. Here is a simple recipe to make your own. It's wonderful in tea, over sliced fruit, on ice cream or plain yogurt. 


2 1/2 c. ripe rose hips, any size
2 c. water
1/3 c. sugar
6 strips of lemon peel
Juice of half a lemon

Trim the blossom ends off the hips and place in small saucepan. Pour water over, then add sugar and lemon peel. Bring to boil, then turn down heat to a simmer. Do not cover! Simmer about ten minutes, then use a potato masher or back of a large spoon to crush the fruit. Continue simmering for another 25-30 minutes, until liquid is becoming thickened. Stir in lemon juice. Remove from heat, cool slightly and then strain through a very fine sieve (or use one sieve inside of another), crushing fruit as you go to extract as much juice and pulp as possible. Pour into a jar, refrigerate and use within a month. 
Note: spices can be added, if desired, such as cinnamon, cloves or candied ginger

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Aspenglow / Buttered Lips by Gayle Nabrotzky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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