We’re answering your questions about cooking, preparing, or storing fruit, veg. This week we’ve answered your questions on damsons, elderberries, rosehips, cucumbers and our chocolate beetroot brownies.
Post your questions here on the blog and we’ll pass them to our cooks to answer in the next questions to the cook blog.
help! i’ve been at the hedge veg again! just picked a load of damsons, most of the ones I picked are ok, but hubby picked quite a few greenies, what would you recomend to do with ones that are not quite ripe? risk making jam or make a chutney? and do you have any recipies? also what can i do with elderberries (but make shockingly good wine) and rosehips which i’ve been told are packed with vit c, but again can’t seem to find anything to do with this great “hedge veg” i have all within walking distance of my house. thanks caroline
There’s not a lot you can do with unripe damsons. Leave them on the windowsill for a while so they ripen. You can then try making damson gin with around 450g of washed damsons, 160g of white granulated sugar and 75cl gin. Prick the fruit and pour into a sterilised 1 ltr bottle add the sugar and fill with gin to the rim. Shake every day until the sugar is dissolved and then store in a cool, dark place for 3 months to a year then strain and bottle it.
To use up your elderberries, try a jam. Put 1.3 – 1.8kg of elderberries into a large pan and crush. Heat up and simmer for 10 minutes. Seive the mashed berries and let it strain for several hours.
Measure out 3 cups of juice to make one batch of jam. Any amount more than that you can reserve for making syrup, or add to another batch for jelly. Put 3 cups of juice into a large, wide pot (8-quart). Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice a packet of pectin. Bring it to boil and add 4 ½ cups sugar and ¼ teaspoon of butter. Stir with a wooden spoon and bring to the boil (watching the pot). As it reaches boiling point, stir, and after 2 minutes, remove it from the heat and pour into sterilised jars
Rosehips also make a good jelly and can be made into a syrup with 4 ½ pints water, 90g rosehips and 45g white granulated sugar. Top and tail the rosehips, boil 3 pints of the water and put the rosehips in a food processor. Transfer the fruit into the boiling water and bring to the boil again before removing from the heat and leaving for 15 mins. Strain the mixture then return the pulp to the pan and add the remaining water. Bring it to the boil, remove from the heat and leave for 15 minutes. Strain again, then add all the extracted liquid to a clean saucepan and boil until reduced to 1.5 pints. Add the sugar and boil for 5 mins then poit into sterilised bottles straight away.
Can I freeze the beetroot chocolate brownies from your Riverford cookbook? and how long can I keep them?
Yes, you can freeze them and you can keep them for no more than 3 months.
Try our recipe for chocolate beetroot brownies here.
got any suggestions for using or preserving cucumbers?
hazelshomegrown (via Twitter)
You can store cucumbers at the bottom of the fridge for a week or so, but the flavour deteriorates – they’re much better if eaten fresh.
As for using them, you can’t really beat cucumber raw in a salad, but for something a little different, try our recipes for spiced cucumber and cucumber pickle.
Order cucumber from Riverford Organic.