Sea Buckthorn

stalks removed, still frozen

stalks removed, still frozen

Following my earlier report on the painfully thorny nature of Sea Buckthorn (known to Germans as Sanddorn), there’s the complete story.

We received a load of Sea Buckthorn in October, just when we had no time to process it. We wrapped it in cloth and froze it, after having been told that it freezes well and that the berries are much easier removed when frozen anyhow.

I finally removed the still frozen berries from the stalks today, defrosted them, extracted 1750 g of Marc de Sea Buckthorn, and made 12 jars of Sea Buckthorn jam. Very fruity, very delicious.

My Cider And I

cider-1Isn’t that exciting? After our extensive foraging for apples in local public spaces and orchards, I started our first ever cider – only on an experimental small amount for now.

Our cider, made from crushed apples foraged in Elthorne Waterside and Cranford Country Park, has been fermenting for 10 days now. I haven’t sampled it yet, but it certainly smells like the real thing, and has no mould!

I strained and bottled it yesterday, just one batch of 2.5 litres. This is now on its way to second fermentation to make the bubbles, assuming the bottle will not explode under the building pressure.

I keep it in the shower over the next week to be safe, but remove it temporarily while I take a shower. It’s the cider or me, shower-wise. We share a happy relationship, my cider and I, just not the shower.


almonds-pMore foraging tales from W7: sweet almonds. Who would have thought that these grow in London?

The almonds are perfect, and if you never sampled fresh almonds, you should probably put it on your bucket list. Unlike the dried-out specimen from the supermarket shelf, the real thing has the aromatic oils still intact, thus exhibits the aroma of marzipan. Or rather, it reminds you that marzipan tastes of almonds (well, and a tiny little ton of sugar and a splash of rose water).

You might want to keep your eyes peeled for sweet almonds in your area, ‘coz I am not telling where “our” tree is, srsly not.


Ouch Ouch Sea Buckthorn

DSC_0832Here’s yet another episode or our 2015 foraging and preserving adventures: Sea Buckthorn, known to Germans as Sanddorn.

Our friend Julie was kind enough to sacrifice her skin and blood to forage a large bag of the bright orange, juicy and tasty berries down by the sea. Nature protects the berries with vicious long, thin and sharp thorns, so we are deeply grateful for Julie’s help.

Right now, the berries rest in the deep freezer. They freeze well and, once frozen, come off the branch much easier. As soon as we have time, later in the month, we will juice them and make Sea Buckthorn Jelly.

Vine Harvest

DSC_0694We were faster than the starlings this year and harvested 2 buckets of dark blue grapes from the vine on the front of our house yesterday. Those were then washed and picked off the stalks, juiced, filtered, and preserved as a rich fruit juice or light cordial in sterilized bottles.

4.5 litres in total, that’s not too bad for a north-facing wall in London, I should think. And it has quite a nice flavour, too.

Sloes Going Slow

DSC_0838We started our first batch of Sloe Gin yesterday. Never made it, never even sampled it, but given the abundance of Sloe in nearby meadows, and given how many of our local friends go all hmm-sloe-gin at the mention, we thought we’d give it a try.

We picked 1.2 kg of Sloe, sterilized a suitably sized vessel, washed and pricked the berries. We added 100 g of Sugar and a litre of Gin, and sealed the jar.

Now it sits in a quiet place and waits for Christmas.