The leaves may be about to turn, but the onset of autumn brings harvest time and all its wonderful fruits. Here is our pick of the best.
“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!” Sad as it is to say farewell to another summer, the bounty promised by the onset of autumn makes Keats’ famous delight at the prospect of “moss’d cottage-trees” bent with apples entirely understandable. This year looks to be a good one for the fruit forager as our orchard trees are loaded with produce – and early too, thanks to the mild winter and early spring.
Whether you plan to visit one of our favourite pick-your-own farms to have a go at foraging in your local woods (perhaps enlisting the help of a guide, as we did) or to make jars of delicious jam, here are five of our favourite features and recipes on this season’s feast of fruit.
Autumn is plum time, and native damsons are having their moment of glory. In Damsons in Defence we looked towards the Welsh Marches, where the ancient English variety known as the Shropshire Prune is undergoing a revival, and spoke to expert Catherine Moran to find out more.
Stosie Madi of the Parkers Arms in Bowland, Lancashire, also chose the damson as her Flavour of the Month. She explained to us why damsons are her favourite stone fruit, and shared her splendid recipe for damson-pickled herrings.
Gooseberries were chef Keri Moss’s Flavour of the Month this time last year. The MasterChef 2012 champion shared her love for the tart fruit, with a recipe for gooseberry crumble and custard inspired by her childhood.
Even in our big cities the brambles are bursting with blackberries this year. Our resident herb and spice expert Vivienne Crawford took off on a temporary tangent to extol the virtues of raspberries and blackberries, revealing how these late summer/early autumn berries are good for making mouthwash and vinegars as well as jams and cheesecake toppings.
It’s not all soft fruits, of course. The annual apple and pear harvest starts soon, and we pressed Cornish Orchards in Duloe to tell us how they grow the apples and pears they use to make cider and perry. After all, the summer’s not completely finished yet, and what could be more refreshing than a chilled glass of pear cider or apple juice on a lovely sunny day?
See this article as it originally appeared on Flavourfirst