Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Definitely Not Slim Pickings

An elderberry cluster

The other day I went on a bike ride with a friend around Springfield park in Stamford Hill, Hackney. While riding along the backtracks behind the park I noticed a large elderberry tree, distinctive for its small, dark purple berries on thin red branching stems. I began to pick the berries to some strange looks from the locals, but I was unphased and soon filled a carrier bag with them.

When picking elderberries you should be very careful with being too forceful with them, as their dark purple dye is very messy, and can be a hassle to get out of clothes. The elderberry tree is mainly found near sources of water such as swampland or canal banks, they can often be mistaken for water hemlock, which is extremely toxic and should be avoided at all costs.

RosemaryOn the way home, while cycling along the canal I also noticed rosemary growing in abundance amongst the bushes. Rosemary is easy to spot, with its needle-like leaves and fragrant, woody aroma. I thought this was an opportunity too good to miss, and so I took two long stalks home with me. I find it really amazing to see herbs growing in such wild conditions so close to my home in the centre of London, and I definitely intend to make this treasure spot a regular stop off when I go out on the bike.

After completing the tedious chores of picking and thoroughly washing all of the berries, I made a sweetened sauce from them and used this to make ice cream, giving it a gorgeous natural fruity flavour and a wonderful dark appearance. I'll post a recipe soon for this ice cream which works really nicely in the well-known classic Baked Alaska.

P.S. Recipe now posted.

Eu saí em minha bicicleta no outro dia e encontrei bagas roxas (elderberries) selvagens e também o rosemary selvagem que crescem ao lado do rio. Eu fiz o gelado da bagas e eu dei o rosemary à mãe do meu amigo que o usará em sua cozinha com cordeiro.


David said...

As ever, it's a delight to read your blog and to find that I'm not the noly one in berry collecting mode.

Trig said...

Thank you very much for your kind words, and it's great to see regular visitors to my blog. You seem like a very interesting character with what looks like a fascinating story to tell. Are you sure you're not Duncan Campbell in disguise?...

Sam said...

I used to make elderflower champagne with the flowers when i was a kid.

Lilandra said...


we don't get a lot of berries here

i guess we do get good stuff otherwise but...but...

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