Summer is well and truly over, the first storm of the season has blown through and the air has taken on a distinctly autumnal feel. It’s not all doom and gloom though, because autumn means brambles (or blackberries for our non-Scottish friends.) and apples, and potatoes, and carrots, and kale and lots of other delicious local produce!
We went bramble picking last weekend and have been enjoying the fruits of our labours ever since in the form of my Mum’s bramble jelly. I love bramble jelly! I’ve never tried making it myself though. My mum and I agreed a good few years ago on a division of labour whereby she makes bramble jelly (and any other jam/jelly products) and I make apple chutney (we have vast numbers of apples between our two gardens) and we swap jars. Win, win!
We always try to make use of the fruit and veg that grows in our gardens or wild in the area. One of the other things I’ve experimented with is fruit infusions; bramble whisky, apple rum, plum brandy, etc. The bramble whisky is my favourite though (Can you tell I like brambles yet?) and super easy to make; fill a big jar with brambles. Sprinkle in some sugar to come about quarter of the way up the brambles and then fill with whisky. (Cheap stuff works fine – you’re filling it with sugar and fruit so you don’t want to use up your good stuff for this!). Leave it for a few months, giving it a shoogle now and then to dissolve the sugar then strain the liquid into another bottle/jar and leave to mature for another few months before drinking. I must confess that at this point I chucked the fruit but, had I thought about it a bit more, it would probably have made a very good trifle or cranachan or something similar. Must remember that next time!
We have a fantastic and bountiful natural larder here in Kintyre and even if you don’t grow/make things yourself there are still plenty of opportunities to get your hands on it! Check out Kintyre Preserves and Kilbrannan Preserves for some great locally made jams, jellies and chutneys and Kintyre Gin for a fabulous bramble infused gin. The Kintyre Larder on Main Street and the monthly Farmer’s Market (first Saturday of the month) in the Heritage Centre Car Park are both great places to pick up local, seasonal fruit and veg.
Don’t forget to check our food and drink listings for more ideas of where to try and buy a wee ‘Taste of Kintyre’. Enjoy!