Seven Tastes of Autumn
Blackberries must be the best known wild gathered berry, of course there are plenty of cultivated ones now available but there is a far greater sense of satisfaction if you pick your own in the dappled Autumn sun and return home with stained hands and lips. Blackberries are a good source of vitamin C and provide a fair amount of iron. The blackberry leaf and root is a powerful astringent and the berries are used to treat diarrhoea and anaemia.
Figs originated in south-west Asia they now grow throughout the Mediterranean and surprisingly well in Britain. The medicinal use of figs is almost as ancient as the plant itself. For centuries figs have been recommended to restore energy and vitality. Pliny wrote, “figs are restorative and the best food that can be taken by those who are brought low by a long sickness”. They can be turned into a variety of dishes but frankly they are delicious just the way they are.
Another Autumn fruit dripping from the tree to gather by the basket. Elderberry vinegar added to warm water makes a delicious healthy Winter drink. Elderberries strengthen the immune system and reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu. Elderberries are a rich source of vitamins A, B and C, potassium and antioxidants. Some research suggests they may be better than blueberries at fighting free radicals.
One of the 9 Anglo Saxon sacred herbs symbolising longevity, courage and strength. I love the fresh green seeds before they are dried they add an aromatic burst of flavour to food. Fennel seeds are a potent medicine containing loads of minerals and vitamins including copper, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamins A, E & C plus B complex. Long used as a remedy for indigestion and relief of colic pain in new born babies.
Fresh picked apples are one of the evocative smells of Autumn. Many apples kept in a dry room will keep into the following year. Apples are packed with disease fighting vitamins and anti-oxidants. Juicing apples from time to time is fine but eating them in their whole form will give you a synergistic blend of nutrients and fibre the way nature intended providing you with well researched health benefits.
There are many different varieties of pumpkins, some are tiny and nestle in the palm of your hand, others too big to move single handed. Halloween Jack O lanterns make pumpkins synonymous with Autumn. All the scooped out flesh can be turned into endless dishes from soups and risotto to muffins and pies. The fruit is a good source of vitamin B complex as well as many anti-oxidant vitamins such as A; C & E. Pumpkin is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
Like jewels the rose hips cascade down the bushes in the Autumn These oval red fruits of wild roses have long been used as food & medicine. Turn them into chutneys, jams, syrups, vinegars, wine and teas. Rose hip tea was traditionally used for the common cold and locally for inflamed or bleeding gums. During the Second World War, many tons of rose hips were turned into syrup to provide vitamin C.