There just some days when you want to walk miles.Walk miles and take in everything around you.Revisit old haunts from your childhood.And most of all just enjoy being out with no one else around.
Saturdays are childfree for me every other month, Sundays in between.I dearly love my kids, but when they spend their time with their dad it gives me a little time to myself without 8 miles of school runs, early mornings and early evenings to do the things I want to do.
To be honest it is usually the day I spend blogging for the week ahead, catching up with blogs and general faffing around on the internet.In recent weeks I’ve decided I needed a new plan as I was wasting my Saturdays doing what I could be doing that evening or even early Sunday morning.
If you’ve been reading my blog and seen my updates on social media you’ll know that means foraging.So I decided to get myself off outside as I wanted fruit to make fruit leathers (roll ups).As we live literally minutes away from fields, hedgerows and woods it’s not that far before I come to views like the one above.This used to be the field where I kept my pony Belladonna as a child.I didn’t go into the field as I was after all the blackberries and haws that laden the hedgerows around it.
Moving up the hill, past cottages, more fields and across a busy road I came to where we picked blackberries a few weeks back .The harvest is always good here and this year the hedgerows are heaving.I didn’t get to pick as many as I before as most of the hedges had been cut back by the council (I wish they would wait another month to do that).But what had been untouched was the immense amount of haws and rose hips.I walked further than usually do with the kids as they get bored and tired up to a point.I spent about 3 hours in the end collecting about 4 containers worth of fruit.
Once home I set about washing all the fruit and composting all the leaves, stalks and anything that was maggoty and bad.The amount of blackberries I picked was enough to make two batches of fruit leathers also known as roll ups.The process is quite long but I honestly can say they are worth it.Me and the kids ate half of the first batch between us, hence making two batches so I keep some for when is so cold outside we want to taste a bit of Summer on our tongues.
- 500g blackberries (you can use any odd bits of fruit like peaches, plums, pears, strawberries, elderberries)
- 500g apples, peeled, cored and chopped (crab or cooking apples for their high pectin levels)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 150g honey (I used Agave syrup)
- Spices- This is entirely up to your preference.Cinnamon stick, anise star, ginger, cloves or vanilla all work well with fruit.
- Preheat an oven to extremely low oven 60c/ gas mark 1/8.
- Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Wash the blackberries and pick over to check for unripe or bad fruit.
- Place in a pan with the prepared apple,lemon juice.
- Simmer gently you the fruit become soft and pulpy.
- Use a sieve to push all the fruit through into a clean bowl.
- Add your sweetener.
- Spread the pureed fruit amongst your two trays.
- It shouldn't be no more than 1cm thick or it will take too long to dry out.
- Place the trays in the low oven.
- Check on the fruit leathers (roll ups) after 8 hours.If they aren't sticky to touch and come away from the baking parchment they are ready.
- Leave to cool.
- Cut along the dried puree into strips.Then cut down each strip into thirds.
- Dust liberally with icing sugar.
- Gently peel away from the baking parchment and roll up.
- Dust liberally with more icing sugar before storing in either the fridge for up 5 months in an airtight container or the freezer.If storing in ambient temperatures a tin would be better to avoid sweating.
If you liked this recipe you might like to try my Bramble Brandy .