A gathering summer evening

Since June I’ve been regularly checking on a tree when I walk the dogs. At first it had tiny green berries and by early July they looked like small green olives. Excitement mounted as they began to colour, just tinges of purple at first, but they didn’t seem to grow any bigger because of the relentless heat we had. Busyness meant I didn’t take that route for a while and then last week I jumped with joy, they were starting to ripen. I had a bag with me intending to pick blackberries but instead I picked windfalls. Have you guessed what they are yet?
damsons
Who needs blackberries when there are damsons? Last year there were so few that they weren’t worth picking, but now they are all over the ground under the tree. I don’t think that anyone else picks them, can you believe that? They are in a public place that has a good number of walkers and yet they just fall and go to waste, except for the birds and squirrels. Perhaps because its in a city rather than the country, people don’t know what they are or what to do with them. Doesn’t anyone else like damson jam or blackberry and apple pie? Surely one of the joys of summer is going to pick blackberries? I love to get free food, and spreading damson jelly on my toast through the dark winter helps to make it tolerable.
damson1
What do you gather? Or am I the last of a dying breed of hedgerow raiders?
damson2
Why not go hunting in your area and see what you can find? If you’re not sure what to pick, ask an old woman like me or of course just do an image search on the internet. Foraging is the perfect way to spend a summer evening.

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19 thoughts on “A gathering summer evening

  1. That’s so funny, I picked up half a carrier bag full of damsons on Sunday….as you say they are littering the ground. Damson jam is so yummy, and like you I love free food. The wild raspberries are almost finished, but now the brambles are ripe and juicy….yum, yum!

  2. I think I got turned off blackberrying as a child when I found insects in the berries, but those damsons look pretty enticing and YES to damson jam 🙂

  3. I used to have a tree in my backyard. The more I picked the damsons, but more fruit the tree provided each year. I begged people to come to get some. The tree grew so big, and I couldn’t reach the top fruit, you should have seen the raccoons swinging off those branches, fighting over them and pigging out. Homemade plum jam is delicious. ❤

  4. There has been a glut of plums at the allotment. Pots and pots of jam made in kitchens across this patch of South East London. I have gone the compote and crumble route. It is a very good year for plums. Now I am waiting for my tomatoes to ripen, but the weather has turned much cooler, so I hope they don’t suffer.

  5. We have two peach trees the other side of our fence, in the lane, and it is a race to see who raids the tree first. A couple of plants have grown themselves inside our yard now, so my own supply is guaranteed. We have olive trees up in another lane behind us, just discovered those while walking the dog. On ‘Escape To The Country’ I saw the sort of things one can get hold off in your part of the world. I was amazed at the idea of wild strawberries. 🙂

  6. Gorgeous, Gilly! I’m fighting the apple battle at the minute. Our next door neighbour is a very elderly Chinese lady who doesn’t like apples. Her huge tree overhangs our back garden so we have plenty, but then she knocks on the door for my husband to go and empty her side too. It’s never ending 🙂

  7. Sounds like a fun thing to do. I had a blackberry tree when I lived on Long Island, N.Y. (country-like setting). I’d spread a sheet on the ground and have the kids climb the tree and shake the branches. Lots of yummy fruit for us to snack on in the evening.
    Sadly, here, I do not have anything to pick. Although, my little fig tree has a few green ones ( like 10). I’m hoping the birds don’t like them but if they do I can feel happy that I am feeding nature.
    Nice photos …. 😊

  8. I don’t know what damsons are. 🙂
    In my area, I picked walnuts on the ground and also picked them from the tree. It’s just hard to crack them nuts. Had to work for it to get the reward. 🙂

  9. Like Rommel, I am not familiar with damsons either! They look perfect for jam. I shall have to wait a whole year for my supply of free mangoes 🙂

  10. We’ve been blackberry picking & seen the damsons ripen. My daughter loves it. There seem to be a lot around going spare, perhaps people don’t pick them like they used to, although I gather they are early. My grandparents used to pick damsons, sloes, blackberries & elderberries for gins, wines, jams and pies.

    Nice post.

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