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Go back to the roots of Thanksgiving with a foraged feast

If you really want go local for Thanksgiving dinner, try foraging for some of your ingredients. Chef and food blogger Sally Hurst takes a look at some of London's forage-friendly advocates and restaurants for tips you can use anywhere.

While foraging is a hot culinary trend, the original Thanksgiving feast was created with foraged ingredients. So try going old school and adding a few foraged ingredients to your holiday meal. Chef and food blogger Sally Hurst shares her tips and a recipe for a delicious sauce that will be a tasty accompaniment to you main dishes.

This may seem a little time consuming, but as an alternative to your usual cranberry sauce this is a delicious accompaniment to your Thanksgiving turkey.  If you’re having trouble finding hawthorns, or you can’t bear the thought of this holiday without cranberries, just substitute cranberries for the hawthorns.  If you have leftovers, the sauce makes a delicious accompaniment to a cheese board, is lovely with your pork tenderloin or venison steak, or simply drizzled on top of ice cream.

The first step is to make your rosehip syrup, which will add a tangy punch to your sauce.  It will also be a welcome addition to your pantry as an ingredient to pour over your pancakes, swirl into yogurt or add to your holiday gravy.   

Once you’ve made your syrup, the sauce itself is a snap.  I will caution, that, as with all foraged ingredients, you should taste as you go.  The sweetness and tartness of these fruits can vary tremendously from bush to bush and tree to tree.  I happen to like a tart sauce, but you may prefer something a little sweeter.  Each to his own and that’s the joy in experimenting with the ingredients you actually find on your own!

Rosehip syrup makes 2 cups

  • 1 pound rosehips, all stems removed
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 cups water 

Coarsely chop up the rosehips and put them into 4 cups of boiling water. Bring the water back up to the boil and then remove it from the heat and let the rosehips infuse the water for 15 minutes.  Strain the pulp through a sieve into a clean bowl.

Place the remaining pulp and 2 cups of water into the same saucepan and bring to a boil again.  Once boiling, remove from the heat and let infuse for 10 minutes.  Strain the pulp into the same bowl of rosehip mixture.

Put all of the strained rosehip mixture into a clean saucepan and simmer until slightly thickened.  Add the sugar and boil for 5 more minutes.  Bottle your syrup in sterilized jars (on the small side is best as once opened they are only good for about a week).

Crab apple, hawthorne and blackberry sauce with a rosehip kick serves 8

  • 1 pound crab apples, roughly chopped
  • ½  pound hawthorns, all stems removed
  • ¼ pound blackberries
  • 1 cup verjus
  • ¼ cup of rosehip syrup
  • ¾ cup sugar

Place all of the fruit and the verjus in a large saucepan and cover with boiling water.  Put your pot on the heat and bring the water back to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and let cook about 10 minutes until all the fruit is soft.  Push the soft fruit through a sieve into a clean pan and bring back to a boil.  Now add the rosehip syrup and sugar.  Boil until the mixture has begun to thicken and set. 

Serve at room temperature with your turkey or place immediately in preserving jars for other uses.

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