FORAGERS are always enthusiastically looking for new wild foods and recipes to try out and share. Usually, we get to celebrate our successes…. but what about our failures?
Living in a part of the Irish countryside that’s rich with native plants, my family has had great fun finding and cooking all sorts of wild fruits and plants for almost a decade.
On the other hand, we’ve also had one explosion, a frantic weekend product recall and a jelly that refused to set. And for every fumble, I hope that an important lesson has been logged and learned!Continue reading “Foragers’ fumbles and fails”
FORESTS provide a valuable space for anyone seeking ways to find fitness, mindfulness or a free amenity for energetic kids, but they’re also easy targets for sneaky, illegal dumping.
There are three very good reasons to be angry at those responsible for fly-tipping or illegal dumping. Dumpers damage the environment, they are too lazy and/or cheap to legally dispose of items that are often recyclable and they cost the rest of us money!
CRAB APPLES are one of those wild-growing fruits that often remain untouched on the tree but they actually make a delicious jelly that bridges the gap between savoury and sweet.
The apples we grow or buyare descendants of wild crab apples, which are usually found along hedgerows or in woods and untouched spaces. A handy tip is that if there are rowan trees in an area it’s likely that you will find a crab apple tree nearby.
We’ve made crab apple jelly on a couple of occasions but this year we decided to adapt our usual recipe by adding cloves to give it just a hint of spice. We like the jelly on bread or scones, but it can also be used with meats like pork or turkey, depending on your personal taste.
ROSEHIP syrup is a recipe with an interesting history and tastes good over all sorts of foods, including icecream and pancakes!
The great advantage of rosehip syrup is that while the process of making it is a little bit finicky the tiny red hips of the wild rose are readily available for free on hedgerows and in many gardens throughout the country.
These tiny red fruits look a little bit like elongated apples, which is no coincidence as they belong to the same family as crab apples and apples.
WE HAVE braced ourselves for cold and flu season by making a small but effective batch of elderberry syrup that is already being put to good use in our household.
Classrooms and offices are like incubators for bugs at this time of the year but we’re hoping to give ourselves a fighting chance by using the berry of the elder tree, which is found growing wild in many hedgerows, waste ground and established back gardens.
BLACKBERRIES are one of those universally-loved fruits because they are so accessible, growing wild on untouched hedgerows in fields and roadsides everywhere, and I want to share our highly adaptable recipe for scrumptious blackberry buns.
MAHON FALLS is an awesome (I mean that in the original sense of the word) 80-metre waterfall that lies in the Comeragh Mountains, so I’m totally baffled as to why some visitors would dump rubbish there!
I took our girls Ava (11) and Becca (8) to the Falls this week as one of our planned day-trips over the school holidays, but we were all upset and disgusted to discover that the level of littering seems to have reached unprecedented levels this summer.Continue reading “Mahon Falls – a littered treasure”
FOOD WASTE costs the average Irish household EUR700 every year – that’s a whole load of cash to just chuck in the bin!
I’m trying to think about all the things I could do with that kind of money, like putting it towards a family holiday or sorting out something in the house (the front windows need painting) or the garden (there’s an endless list there).
Earlier this week, Becca (8) and I attended the launch of a Community Food Initiative by Ballyhoura Development in the Co Limerick village of Caherconlish, to discover how we could have more ‘food sense’ in the future, for the benefit of our family’s health and pocket.
The day, which included arts and crafts, facepainting, and child-friendly healthy treats, took place in the lovely Millennium Centre, which I thought was pretty fitting, seeing as how I was hoping it would help me guide our family to a new phase of smarter eating.
GLENGARRA Mountain Lodge is buzzing with life again as nature lovers find their way back to this scenic wildlife haven – thanks to ongoing restoration work by local volunteers!
We put on our sensible footwear and packed a picnic at the weekend to attend an open day hosted by Burncourt Community Council at the Co Tipperary shooting lodge-turned-hostel, which has lain empty in recent years.
The event had two purposes – firstly, to show the public how far the community had come in fixing the potentially devastating damage caused by vandals and thieves, and secondly, to remind us all that support was needed for the work still to be done.