We had two afternoons of bliss enjoying our local reserves– the first one was during our Fungi Foray at Knettishall Heath on Sunday. The next day, Jeff had the day off, and we visited Lackford Lakes, which is only about 20 minutes away from us. This piece of land used to be a gravel pit before it was donated to the National Trust. It was restored, and has become a rich nature reserve with meadows, woodland, reed beds, streams and pond, attracting a very diverse bird population. We visited at this time of the year last autumn, and enjoyed eating tons of blackberries. Jeff and I brought a basket this time, to bring some home. (Another thing I love about the reserves here is that foraging is absolutely permitted, if not encouraged!)
Honestly, we didn’t cover a whole lot of territory, since there were ripe blackberries everywhere we turned. We picked about six to eight cups-worth.
We also found a more limited selection of elderberries! These were extremely easy to pick, as we could just snap off the stems full of shiny, round fruit jewels.
I noticed that there are also a ton of rosehips ripening. They weren’t ready to pick yet, but we will have to go back in a week or two for those.
When we came home, I made a cough syrup/ winter tonic with the elderberries, cooking them down with fresh ginger, cinnamon and cloves, then adding some raw Suffolk honey. We used to pay a fortune for elderberry syrup in Portland, and it is incredibly satisfying to make our own medicine at home.
As for the blackberries, I cooked them down, and I am working on brewing a lacto-fermented beverage, similar to old-school ginger beer. That should be ready in about a week– I’ll let you know how it turns out!
I am already counting down until the weekend, when we can either go back to one of the beautiful places we visited this weekend, or find a new nature reserve to check out. I often wonder if people who grew up here have any idea just how lucky they are… Do you think they do?
Do you have a nature reserve or other wild escape nearby?
This post has been shared at Small Footprint Family’s Friday Sustainable Living Linkup and Fill Those Jars Fridays, Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays, Butter Believer’s Sunday School, and Fresh Eggs Daily’s Farm Girl Blog Fest.)