Rachel Lambert: forager, author, guide
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Using all parts of the sloes for this decadent, homemade chocolate cake

A decadent, sloe gin-soaked chocolate cake with sloes laced through the cake in three different ways. This recipe was requested on several of my foraging courses (I do go on about lots of my favourite wild recipes) so here it is!

You'll first need to make your sloe gin (recipe in my Wild Food Foraging book) and let it infuse for at least 3 months.

A slice a sloe gin-soaked chocolate cake

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A bowl of frozen wild rowan berries

The first frost is a significant marker in the colder months of the year. Whether you look forward to it or dread it, it has an important function for wild fruits, us and the rest of the natural world.

Previously I've written about how frost and snow effects seaweeds in; Can seaweeds survive the frost and snow?

Bowl of frozen rosehip fruits

Cornish Frost - Myth or Reality?

Here in West Cornwall and by the coast, I never know whether the first frost will arrive at all. Where the warm currents and breezes from the sea can help keep the temperature more ambient. Exposed to the prevailing Southwesterly winds that blow in from the Atlantic means that Cornwall is considered the mildest and warmest place in the UK.

Here we can sometimes sit on the beach on Christmas Day, and sometimes the frost, never, ever arrives. It is true that the closer to the ocean you get, the milder the winters and the cooler the summers are.

Prnus spinosa, blackthorn fruits

What does the frost do to wild fruits and is there an alternative?

The frost has the effect of both breaking the skins of the fruits and sweetening them. A welcomed impact for desserts, flavoured gin, jams, jellies and much more. Of course, living in the modern age means you don't have to wait for the first frost.

Why? Because we have freezers. It is true, popping the fruits in the freezer is not as romantic as getting up at dawn to collect glistening fruits breaking their frost virginity. Though it is more convenient.

Freezers also mean that you can attend to your fruits - whatever you want to create with them - when you have ample time to enjoy the process.

rubus fruticosus

Frost is beneficial to both the texture and sweetness of wild autumnal fruits. I have plenty of recipes for wild berries in my autumn blog. I also run hands on, practical foraging courses in autumn and all year round.

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