Saturday, 24 July 2010

Basket of Forest Fruits

I mentioned in my recent post on the Celebrations of the Five-petalled Rose that my husband bought me a small basket for picking forest fruits. I thought you might like to know that I very quickly made good use of it.

One day I arranged to meet Salamander at Olsina for supper and an evening swim in the lake, but I decided I would walk there. I left the house when the afternoon was still sweltering and headed up the hill and into the woods. I took with me two baskets - one for chanterelle mushrooms and one (this one) for wild strawberries and bilberries.

There's a good bank for strawberries along the path and I soon was picking. Further into the woods on the other side of the hill the bilberries were now ripe. The wild bilberry harvest this year has been patchy - there are whole areas which show no berries at all and others where berries are ripe and ready for picking. Picking these fruits (without one of those wood and wire berrypickers) takes forever, but they are worth it. They taste heavenly and only a few of the little fruits is enough to produce a lot of flavour, so unlike the watery cultivated varieties. My favourite recipe is simply to microwave them with some sugar for a minute or so and eat with either cream or yoghurt. Another recipe is to make some babovka mixture (the commercial babovka dry mix does nicely), pour into a baking tray, sprinkle with bilberries and cook in the oven 160 degrees for an hour or so.

It was hot work and took a couple of hours to pick this lot (and a load of chanterelles), so boy did I need that swim. But it was worth it - there were maybe five meals in this basket.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Oh, this post is literally painful to read! Life is so beautiful in Southern Bohemia. How lovely of your husband to honor your Czech forest harvesting habits. That basket is gorgeous! I have never heard of bilberries but the way you fix them sounds heavenly.


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