|autumn leaves 2014|
I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.
The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.
The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go, not one lasts.
Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
Is it just me, or can someone tell me what happened to this year's predicted Indian Summer? I know the weather has been mild, but around here it seems to have done nothing but rain!
I was really hoping to give you a whole load of recipes for autumn foraging. But the birds had got all my elderberries before I'd even noticed they were ripe; same too for the brambles. So even if I'm a bit miffed, the local wildlife are well-fed.
It really is the time for all those early autumn fruit and vegetables such as apples and pears and perfect British root vegetables such as Jerusalem artichokes and celeriac. Of course this is the best time of the year for foraging mushrooms, or even just letting someone else do the work for you and buy the results at the local farmers' market. I have been making a lot of my own preserves over the past few years and happily, loving the end results, from plum jam to damson gin, raspberry jam to chutneys and pickles.
The first Bramley apples are now in season, as are plums and pears. And don't forget this is the beginning of crumble season! The Jerusalem artichoke season is just beginning and cauliflowers are at their peak, together with main crop potatoes and carrots, sprouts, and broccoli. Lettuce is running out by the middle of the month, and courgettes finish towards the end. But by the end of the month, pumpkins and squashes will be piling up (and I do like my pumpkin soup. Actually I love my mushroom soup too . . . perfect for the cold, damp evenings which are slowly sneaking around).
vegetables, herbs and wild greens:
artichokes (globe), artichokes (Jerusalem), aubergines, beetroot, borlotti beans (for podding), broccoli (calabrese), Brussels sprouts, cabbages (various green varieties, red and white), carrots, cardoons, cauliflower, celeriac, chard, chanterelles, chicory, chillies, courgettes, cucumber, endive, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, leeks, marrow, mushrooms, nettles, onions, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins (and squashes), rocket, salsify, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, wood blewits
fruit and nuts:
apples, blackberries, chestnuts, crab apples, cranberries, damsons, elderberries, grapes (English hothouse), hazelnuts, juniper berries, medlars, mulberries, pears, quince, raspberries, rosehips, rowan berries, sloes, walnuts
meat and game:
beef, chicken, goose (wild), grouse, guinea fowl, hare, mallard, mutton, partridge, pork, rabbit, turkey, wood pigeon
fish and shellfish:
cockles, cod, crab (brown, hen and spider), eels, hake, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters (native and rock), prawns, river trout (brown and rainbow), salmon (wild), scallops, sea bass, shrimp, sprats, squid