Sunday, September 16, 2007

Review: Fruits of the Hedgerow

I picked up Charlotte Popescu's
"Fruits of the Hedgerow" in my local garden centre, which was kind of ironic. Our allotment harvest has been poor this year. The best harvest has been hedgerow forage.

The book covers 17 different British wild fruits, nuts and seeds. Each variety has a short description and then a plethora of recipes such as quince muffins, lemon and elderflower syllabub and hazelnut ice cream. I was particularly attracted by the recipes for rowanberries and haws, which grow profusely near me but which I've never gathered before because I didn't know how to use them.

There are no illustrations in the book, and this is a serious drawback. What does a medlar look like anyway? Even in black and white, a line drawing of the tree/bush, of the fruit and leaves, would have been invaluable. But this book assumes that you can already identify the fruits, you just need some recipes for them.

I'm looking forward to trying some of the recipes in this book, if I can tear myself away from just using them to make wine.

11 comments:

Z said...

I've had a book for years (printed 1990, which sounds about right) called 'Country Harvest' by Linda Burgess and Rosamond Richardson. It's so useful for all those sorts of berries that conventional cookbooks don't mention. And it has photos. It suggests both rowan berry wine and rosehip wine.

Linz said...

Richard Mabey's Food for Free doesn't assume you know what everything looks like. I reckon if you use that in conjuntion you won't go far wrong!

Melanie Rimmer said...

Somebody else recommended "Food For Free". I'll definitely keep my eyes out for it. And one of my favourite cookbooks is by Rosamond Richardson. I have a lot of trust in her, so I'm interested in that one, too. Thanks for the recommendations.

Jo said...

The medlars are the small brown fruit in front of the pears in the picture of the front cover. Somebody on our allotment has a medlar tree but I've never managed to get my hands on any (yet!). You can't use them until they are bletted (really soft).

And I have Rosamund Richardson book too. And Food for Free.

tonya said...

I recently bought a second hand copy of Food for Free on greenmetropolis.com. All books are £3.75 and free postage (which seriously competes with Ebay).

Hedgewizard said...

Mel, check this one out;
http://www.foodiesite.com/books/books:wildfood

Along with Mabey, it's my bible. Oh, and a medlar looks like a cross between a naked kiwi and a dog's bum. Once bletted it tastes like a mushy date, but I've never seen medlars in a hedge.

farmingfriends said...

This book looks very interesting. I like the way it has medlar on the front and I have a medlar tree and want to know what to do with them. Sara from farmingfriedns

Joanna said...

I'm amazed at the notion that you might find medlars in the wild ... they're an orchard fruit (on the front cover of your book), and a very pretty tree (which you can train easily). I LOVE cookery books with no photos, you have to concentrate on what is being said ... but I do see that in this case a page of photographs of the fruits for ID purposes would have been useful. Medlar jam is a delicious but infrequent treat, as I have no medlar tree, and my friend with the medlars has moved house ...

I'm looking forward to reading more about what you make from CP's book

Joanna
joannasfood.blogspot.com

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