Gorgeous gifts and garlands

Rowan Berry Schnapps

You will need:
• 400g ripe rowan berries
• 100g white sugar
• 70cl bottle vodka, 37.5% ABV

• Strip 400g of ripe rowan berries from their stalks then wash and dry them.
• Freeze the berries overnight
• Defrost in the microwave, and heat evenly until the berries start to burst.  This will help to reduce bitterness and soften the berries
• Put the berries and sugar into a sterilised jar
• Pour in the vodka, seal the container and shake well
• Shake occasionally for 3 to 5 days until the sugar has dissolved
• Store the jar in a dark place for around 3 to 4 weeks
• Check the mixture by tasting a small amount
• Once you are happy with the taste, strain the mixture through a muslin cloth and add a little more sugar as required for sweetness
• Leave to settle for 3 days
• Once ready, pour the liquid into bottles and enjoy!

Words by:
Nikki Bawn
Featured in:
September 2022

Nikki Bawn of Boggle Lane Foods goes foraging for nature’s abundance of goodies in perfect time for the festive season.

The daylight is fading faster now than those memories of long, hot summer days. So why not use that gardening downtime to explore the wonderful world of the wild? It’s the finest tonic I know to stop the dark and cold from dampening the spirit.

You don’t have to be hell-bent on becoming the next Bear Grylls to enjoy a bit of foraging or wild crafting. Cosying up with candlelight and a crackling fire while doing a little research into plants, berries and all manner of natural goodies is bound to inspire you and it will help you create those extra special festive plans. I find it good for the soul.

It’s easier than you may think to add unique wild luxury to your preparations. Even better, it’ll help make that budget go much further too!

Seasonal homemade gifts
My foraging workshops have never been so busy, with curious folk keen to reconnect with nature to become more self-sufficient, both for nutrition and for healing. The wild also provides a whole host of supplies that make our gifts and dishes uniquely memorable.

As budgets tighten, more people are rediscovering the joys of hand-crafted and homemade. With a little know-how you’ll soon have something on offer to impress even the pickiest of guests.

Chutneys, preserves, pickles and liqueurs are all brilliant presents and they also add to the indulgence of festive feasts. Hedgerow berries are famously good in jam, but, there’s one particularly juicy jewel that’s a favourite of mine.

The bright orange rowan berries are all ripe for the picking from mountain ash trees found far and wide. They are very easy to prepare as a jelly too, which makes a fabulous addition to game dishes.

Top of my list though is my Rowan Berry Schnapps. Its unusual and distinctive tang is puzzlingly moreish and always seems to go down well with all who receive it, either in a glass or as a gift!

There’s so much more to foraged fare than sloe gin. If you don’t fancy cooking, why not take a bracing stroll to gather the greenery of pine, bay and holly for a beautiful wreath or vase display that will bring cheery colour even on the greyest of days.

Whiling away a few hours in the warmth of your kitchen as you create your gifts and garlands is sure to chase away the blues. And it’s good for the heart, mind and wallet!

For more information visit: www.bogglelane.co.uk or email nikki@bogglelane.co.uk

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