Towpaths jam-packed with foraged foods
Ethically minded bakers could be missing a trick by not visiting their local canals to see what foraged goods are available.
As baking mania once again sweeps the nation, the Canal & River Trust are urging keen bakers to get down to their towpath and see what ingredients can be foraged from canal hedgerows. Across the 2,000 mile canal network cared for by the Trust, there are opportunities to forage apples, blackberries, dandelions, elderberries, and many more.
Keen forager Jon Daniels has teamed up with four Canal & River Trust Towpath Rangers to create Regent’s Canal Jam- produced by foraging for blackberries along the Regent’s Canal. Jon began foraging in London a year ago, and he regularly blogs about his foraging experiences.
The Hertford Union Canal in London is also home to an ‘edible wall’, where local residents can source strawberries and tomatoes and other foodstuffs. The wall was previously a graffiti hotspot, however Canal & River Trust funding has helped to transform the space into a living green wall, and has recently been featured on Lorraine Pascale’s Lorraine’s Fast Fresh Easy Food.
Recipe for Regent’s Canal Jam
- 1.75kg Towpath fruit such as Blackberries, Sloes, Elderberries, and Crabapples
- 1kg sugar
- Juice of half a lemon
- Before you begin, place a small plate or two in the freezer.
- To prepare the crabapples and sloes, cook in a pan with some water until soft (approximately 10- 20 minutes). Push through a sieve to ensure that pips are left behind.
- Place the sieved fruit along with the berries in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the sugar and lemon juice, and place on a medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and bring to a steady boil for at least 30 minutes.
- To check if the jam is ready, drizzle some of the liquid on the frozen plate, and return to the freezer for 30 seconds. If the jam is ready, it will form a skin and wrinkle when gently pushed with your finger. If the jam is not ready, continue to boil in 5 minute increments until ready.
- Carefully pour the jam into sterilized jars and seal.