Autumn together with spring is my favourite season for foraging. There are so many types of fruits out there, ripe (mûr) with sweetness just waiting to be picked (cueilli) and turned into delicious nectars.

So, let’s go through the list of them and what to do with them.

On fruit-bearing shrubs (les arbustes fruitiers), berries (les baies):

There are the elderberries (les baies de sureau), black berries (les mûres) early in the autumn and somewhat later one can find the sloes found on blackthorn bushes (le prunellier). The latter have seemed to go through a revival in the last few years due to an increase of interest in foraging (cueillette de plantes et fruits sauvages) and a return in fondness (un engouement) for gin. And of course, last but not least rosehips (les cynorhodons) or rather more informally (gratte-cul/bottom scratchers) as these are the berries that provides itching powder.

On fruit-bearing trees (les arbres fruitiers):

There are apples including the tart (acidulées) crab apples (les pommes sauvages) used for making tawny jelly (une gelée de couleur brune) and plums (les prunes): damsons (prunes de Damas) and green gages (les reines-claudes).

What’s next?

In a nutshell, the 3 main indispensable ingredients for making your own hedgerow (haies sur les routes de campagne britannique) tipple (boisson alcoolisée) are patience, sugar and hard spirits of your choice such as brandy, gin or vodka.

Easy peasy (simple comme bonjour).

My sloe gin recipe: Recette pour le gin à la prunelle

500g sloes (prunelles)

250 g demerara sugar melted in a little warmed-up gin

1 l gin

Steep (laissez macérer) for at least 3 months, the longer the better so be patient (soyez patient)!

Drink neat (pur), on ice (avec des glaçons), or as dessert wine with a scrummy (super bon) pudding like my plum and apple tian that I’ll be preparing in my next cooking workshop on 21st of October.

A la vôtre (cheers)!


There is still one space in Isa’s Intensive Cooking Workshop starting on 10 July 2018.