Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Free Food

   In my youth summer and autumn usually meant free food on offer. It started at the end of June early July with Pick Your Own (PYO) whilst somebody had to pay for the full baskets, the rule as a child was generally 1 for me, 1 for the basket. This haul would then be turned into fresh strawberry cake & pots of jam.

  Next up came blackberries, this frequently meant a bike ride down the canal or out into Cheshire or some other spot where particularly overgrown bramble tangles were known to be. On arrival there would be a small picnic before the devastation commenced (I used to wonder how these patches survived). Again it was a case of 1 for me, 1 for the bag. Meeting other blackberryers was fairly common, and had its own etiquette. What usually followed was apple & blackberry pie and Bramble jam.

  About the same time it was apples, these we didn't have to forage far for, as we had a couple of trees & the old lady nextdoor had a small orchard (about 10 trees).

  Then it was time for sweet chestnuts, getting these was a real joy, you had to wear gloves, due to the spines, and it always involved launching bits of stick up into the tree to dislodge more.

  On Sunday evening, the weather was glorious, so I blew off my chores and went to the forest. There was a group of people by the entrance having a good go at a large sweet chestnut. About 50m from the carpark we were all alone as usual. Having come out on pretty much a whim, we had 1 bag and no gloves. Still it was fun.

Its not the greatest haul, but for 15 minutes work, wasn't too bad, especially as I have a large plate more ripening on the window sill. Since I now have an open fire

It was time to roast, Normally I do chestnuts in the oven, gas 5-6 for half an hour, job done. I'd forgotten to make allowance for the rather ferocious heat of the fire, so was a little shocked when the first one popped after about 5 minutes. Jolly tasty they were too. I suspect that Saturday might include a more organized raid on the sweet chestnuts of Sherwood forest

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