This years batch of saucy haw ketchup is an attractive deep red compared to last years russet brown. Perhaps it’s because I took so long to get round to turning the haws into ketchup I thought (a month from picking to pan). ‘It’s the colour of red wine this time‘ I commented to G, and then the penny dropped. The red wine vinegar used top up the 50ml shortage of cider vinegar of course! Personally I think it looks more appetising this shade.
My rose hip syrup on the other hand turned out a beautiful nectar-like orange.
Boiling up the rosehips creates a not very pleasant bitter smell and I did wonder if I’d taken a foraging step too far! Once the juice is strained off though and the sugar added it’s truly transformed. I picked just enough berries to make one small jar for my first time experiment (300g of rosehips). There are still lots of rosehips still on the bushes but foraging in freezing temperatures, unsurprisingly, doesn’t have quite the appeal of summer time berry picking!
Talking of last years experiments, do you recall me making sloe gin for the first time. I’d hoped to give it out as Christmas presents but wasn’t happy that it was syrupy enough by then. The frozen sloes I’d used didn’t appear to have burst and the gin didn’t taste very fruity at all.
‘I’ll leave it a few weeks longer I thought’… and then the whole year passed by!
So last weekend I poured it all out and stabbed each and every sloe with a fork, returned them to the pan with the gin and gently warmed it before re-bottling. Hopefully by Christmas time it’ll be thicker, fruitier and ready to strain off for bottling.