BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘foraging’

#365daysofbiking Respect your elders

May 30th – Also blossoming now is the delightful and humble elder, a shrub beloved of winemakers for hundreds of years. It grows in woods, hedgerows, on wasteland and anywhere it can. Here in Harlaston it’s thriving at the back of Victoria Park.

The tiny, beautiful white flowers have a gorgeous scent and can be used to make wine or champagne: the berries they make way for – deep red, almost black – make a heavy, heady wine that’s almost legendary.

This gives the winemaker a tasty dilemma: White and floral or red and strong?

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#365daysofbiking Ample shroom:

September 21st – The fungi are appearing thick and fast now, with the damper, cooler weather as is normal for autumn. Spotted near Clayhanger when homeward bound, this shaggy ink cap was a decent, large specimen and had there been more than one, might have been decent eating.

Used to see loads of these when I was a kid, but in recent years they appear to be rarer, which is a shame. They’re nice lightly fried.

#365daysofbiking It’s because I’m a fun guy:

September 11th  – Riding down a post-rain Goscote cycleway, the edges of the trail were dotted with mushrooms and toadstools, I’m fairly but not absolutely sure of the identity of the large, spotted specimens: I think they’re blushers but could, at a pinch, be shaggy parasols. I welcome further views on that.

The field mushrooms were copious, and I got out my cotton bag and plugged about 2lb of them, which made a lovely accompaniment to my evening meal.

August 18th – In spite of my earlier feeling that we were in for a thin harvest, the hedgerows and woodlands are laden with berries, nuts and fruit this year. I noted on Brownhills Common that the elderberries were now showing well and in abundance, which is good news for local winemakers, who will produce a dark red, strong and face-numbing drink from these shiny, dark berries.

And long may it continue!

August 7th – Also showing a good, plump and juicy crop this year are the blackberries, so profuse at the moment, everywhere I go they’re so ripe they’re falling off the brambles. I see plenty of folks picking them, but there are just so many.

If you’re a crumble fan, get out there. These wonderful fruits are fee and so sweet and tasty this year.

July 28th – The hazel hedge by the canal, between Silver Street pedestrian bridge and Coopers Bridge is heavy with nuts this year – clearly to the joy of the local squirrel population. Thankfully when I spotted these healthy specimens, they grey rodents hadn’t completely stripped the trees of their creamy bounty yet.

But they’re having a jolly good go, bless them.

Still can’t get into my head that w have fruiting hazels growing healthily on what used to be an open, festering refuse tip.

July 6th – Well, all week now I’ve been talking about the onset of the fruiting season, and here it is: The first blackberries are beginning to ripen near Clayhanger.

Not sure how good they’ll be though with the chronic lack of rainfall this summer: no chance to swell those lovely purple-black berries.

It’ll be interesting to see if the end crop is as early as it feels, and if the fruit are any good…

July 5th – Always bittersweet to see the berries come; a sign that spring is well and truly gone and summer is peaking.

Still, the Belisha orange berries of the rowan or mountain ash are beautiful in their own right and will bring colour aplenty to hedgerows, parks, verges and thickets for weeks to come, as well as being foraged for jams and jellies.

You can’t escape the passage of summer, so best enjoy it.

June 1st – A grey day, largely but very humid. Storms were expected that never arrived, and the air of humid frustration was pervasive throughout the day.

Another blossom is out now, to add to the list – elderflower. So this weekend I shall be out with the sack, collecting some for a relative to make wine and cordial. Not too many though, as we need to remember the black-crimson fruit that will be used to make excellent wine in autumn.

A nice find on an unremarkable, draining day.

November 1st – Also growing well by the cycleways and roadsides of Telford is a surprisingly copious crop of puffball fungus.

Still young enough to be tasty, I made a mental note passing in a hurry, to on my return pull out my bag and gather some for tea.

Not everything about autumn is sad!