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(Artwork by Catalina Gouverneur)

(Artwork by Catalina Gouverneur)

Fat of the Land and Sea Week 2015 is on! Eight city folks living on hunted, foraged, fished and home-grown food only. Altogether too much too write about with too little time to spare, so I’ll be doing well to just update this post with each day’s haul. It will otherwise be done in pictures on the Instagram feed to the right and on Instagram itself @foragersyear. There will also be posts by others on Instagram using the hashtag #FOTLAS2015. Come along for the ride.

(Artwork by Catalina Gouverneur)

(Artwork by Catalina Gouverneur)

It seems like kind of a big thing, in the modern urban workaday world, to live for one whole week only on home-grown and wild food. Outside of that world, it might seem as unremarkable a challenge as going without a fax machine. But the eight of us doing it are mostly desk workers, in small houses and apartments in the city, albeit foragers, fishers, hunters and vegie growers to varying extents in varying amounts of our spare time.

It isn’t intended as some desperate challenge where a reality TV version would find some of us in starving tears. It is intended as a celebration. Kind of like an old-fashioned harvest festival. We have enough up our sleeves in terms of backyard crops, fishing kit including boats and skills, hunting gear, property access and foraging knowledge to suggest that hunger will not be a huge shadow hanging over us. We are doing it because we never have before and because we can, fully aware that this means that we are very fortunate people.

The last line of defence against hunger – a towering stand of Queensland arrowroot (Canna edulis)

The last line of defence against hunger – a towering stand of Queensland arrowroot (Canna edulis)

It begins on Sunday 1st of March and ends with a feast on the following Saturday the 7th. At the discretion of each of us on board, we can nominate exceptions. I could call mine the ‘amphora rule’, allowing me olive oil and wine. Another guy is allowing previously foraged condiments; of two caffeine loving blokes who live near each other, one has chosen tea and the other coffee and plan to meet regularly to make each other a cuppa over food swaps; one guy is hedging his bets with flour – quite sensible really, allowing the week to be the fun that it is meant to be with a backup sure to guarantee him a seat at the final feast table of set-aside treats.

It will be busy, ‘hard work’ when added to the fact that we will all be largely keeping up the real jobs, so there will be no blogging at the time. Instead, I have gotten my head around Instagram to try to document the week as it unfolds. Images will come up here (at right of screen) if you aren’t on Instagram. If you are, my pics are @foragersyear. There will also be posts by others on Instagram using the hashtag #FOTLAS2015. Come along for the ride.

Cast

Mike H: Spearo, fisher, forager (www.theforagers.com.au and @mostlyfish on IG)

Mike L: Fisher, hunter, grower

Ed: Hunter, forager

Justin: Hunter, forager

Alex: Spearo, fisher, forager

John: Spearo, hunter, fisher, forager, chef (@johnralley on IG)

Andrew: Grower, forager

Oliver (me): Grower, hunter, beekeeper, fisher, forager

Prawning Myall Lakes

Myall Lakes Prawns – mostly greasyback (Metapenaeus bennettae) and school prawns (Metapenaeus macleayi)

Myall Lakes Prawns – mostly greasyback (Metapenaeus bennettae) and school prawns (Metapenaeus macleayi)

When I was a kid, a kilo of school prawns and some mayonnaise was considered fast food for a family. With perhaps some white bread to wrap them in. McDonalds also came on the scene. It’s a terrible shame which one the world has managed to leave the most room for. Commercially, a lot of wild prawn fisheries are in a bad way, in terms of their numbers, bycatch impact, toxin uptake and/or other aspects of their sustainability. The prawn farmers are also a mixed bunch; some working towards some pretty sustainable food production, and others having a shameful toll by digging up wetlands, pillaging the sea for the feed inputs and discharging harmful effluents (Asian imports tend to rate the worst on these scores for prawns on sale in Australia). All in all, it is often very hard to know what you are buying. So, until some decent labelling laws come in, I pretty much don’t buy prawns at all.

This is where one the great joys of foraging means the most – there is no better way of knowing where your seafood comes from than getting right into the water and going after it yourself. I have been longing to try my hand at prawning for quite a while now, but I just wasn’t sure of how or where to give it a go. Some friends who knew this just so happened to come from a Central / Mid-north Coast family who take their prawning seriously. A casual invite to their last session of the season was leapt upon within seconds.

“What do I bring? Torches, a scoop net?” I asked, “You name it, I’ll get it”. “A pair of sandshoes” was the answer. A three hour drive to Bulahdelah to their family seat, a laid-back lunch of wonderful homegrown abundance and then off to the secret spot. I don’t actually know how guarded people are about their prawning spots, because the prawns don’t live there – they are just passing through on their way to the sea to breed. Nonetheless, having been afforded the dignity of not being blindfolded for the journey, I will leave locations out of it.

Heading to the prawning spot

Heading to the prawning spot

The drag net with its ingenious homemade harness

The drag net with its ingenious homemade harness

Bringing in the net

Bringing in the net

The prawn net itself is a pretty impressive piece of kit. Six metres of 30mm aperture net feeding into a tail end where, all going well, the prawns accumulate. There are floats along the top rope, weights along the bottom and 1.7 metres of net between them. It is all held square by two sturdy poles that must be dragged through the water by hand. Normally people hang on to ropes to drag it, although we had the benefit of an ingenious homemade custom rig with harnesses. The care and detail of these gave an early indication that I was under some pretty expert tutoring.

With the calculations about tide, moon, time and place made long before with tide charts and a hefty store of experience, and with the biggest and best set-up possible under NSW rules, it seemed that the hardest bits had been done. From there, it was just a walk through the water with another bloke five metres away doing the same. Simple. Until you start thinking about being belly deep in water in which to my mind there ought to be stingrays to tread on and bull sharks to be paranoid about. With phosphorescence in the water, your legs glow a little as they move, and so does the wake of fish that might swerve in front of you. Things start getting a little creepy for a bit until rationality reclaims its ground. The guys who have been doing it for decades had no concerns, so that did for me.

It turns out that the biggest danger is in fact a 5cm fish that looks not much more menacing than an aquarium goldfish – the fortescue (Centropogon australis), with spines that are said to give an agonising sting. And the danger isn’t even really in the water (because of the sandshoes), but sorting the catch when comfortably on dry land. Or perhaps that is the second biggest danger, behind missing out on being altogether chuffed with the realisation that you are out there getting amongst it on a beautiful starry night in paradise.

Successful prawning can go a long time into the night. If another pass with the net meant another kilo or two of prawns, you would take it. And another, until fatigue set in. And then the processing rules are pretty firm – you catch ‘em, you cook ‘em, that night. Unfortunately, we were safely in bed around midnight. This meant something under two kilos put away; where being up until 3am with twenty kilos would obviously have been preferred. However, it was enough at least for one glorious feed the next day and a few extra snacks.

With prawns, like a lot of seafood delicacies (abalone, crab, whitebait), simple is best. Just a little salt, fat (like butter) and tang (lemon) – or all three in the form of mayonnaise. If accompanied by anything else, just the simplest white bread fits the bill. Don’t let fine food snobbery lure you into some dark sourdough rye and angel-sweat-infused aioli which ends in you not tasting the catch. Wine and a nap would have topped it off to perfection. But it was water and a three hour drive back to the city instead; all the while planning on getting back out there when the season, sunset, tide and moon next align. Saturday 5th December is looking good for me – I can hardly wait.

Greasyback prawn (Metapenaeus bennettae) in the net

Greasyback prawn (Metapenaeus bennettae) in the net

Perfectly cooked prawns (which I have learned to be boiled in smallish batches in salted water just until a bubble can be seen under the shell of a middle segment)

Perfectly cooked prawns (which I have learned to be best boiled in smallish batches in salted water just until a bubble can be seen under the shell of a middle segment)

Prawn perfection (when simple is best): Freshly caught Myall Lakes prawns, freshly baked white bread roll, butter, mayonnaise

Prawn perfection (when simple is best): Freshly caught Myall Lakes prawns, freshly baked white bread roll, butter, mayonnaise

Tailor (Pomatomus saltatrix)

Tailor (Pomatomus saltatrix)

Tailor (Pomatomus saltatrix; ‘bluefish’ in many parts of their very wide distribution around the world) aka ‘choppers’ around here for their predatory method of coming in behind their prey and chomping with razor sharp teeth, are a fish that have recently made me feel a little guilty, truth be told. While I am quick to defend the culinary virtues of some fish that some anglers are quick to leave behind as bait or ‘rubbish fish’ (like slimy mackerel, bonito, Australian salmon, leatherjacket and even yellowtail scad), tailor has strangely been the fish I’ve been happiest to bypass.

Soft fleshed fish, to the point of being hard to work with for many recipes, hasn’t suited my idea of sea meat, I suppose. And yet allowed to be just that – tender even with quite careless cooking – it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But perhaps the bigger thing is that tailor fishing has rarely fitted in with my ideal of a day out on the water. They are estuary fish, and in my part of the world that means Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay. Beautiful in their own right, but busy.

Botany Bay vista, with Sydney Airport, container terminals, city skyline and no shortage of other boats

Botany Bay vista, with Sydney Airport, container terminals, city skyline and no shortage of other boats

Approached from the sea, Sydney is (unbeknownst to most) the world’s most spectacularly walled city. Huge, sheer sandstone cliffs rise up like ramparts no castle will ever match. There is an extraordinary ocean wilderness on one side and one of the busiest modern cities in the southern hemisphere on the other (check out my mate Normy’s paraglider crossing of the heads youtube video for some spectacular imagery). The thing is, I so much love fishing outside the walls that tailor have somehow seemed like second class fare to be taken en route. Kind of like a pastry from a petrol station – hard to resist but eventually unsatisfying.

From the offshore perspective, the same view in the photo above is gorgeously hidden by these city walls

From the offshore perspective, the same view in the photo above is gorgeously hidden by these city walls

But with an onshore sou’wester and choppier seas than anticipated on a recent outing keeping us from the open water, bay fishing it was. The vast spectacle of the open Pacific would have been all too likely interrupted by the threat of small boating disaster and the inevitability of seasickness. So, a backdrop of container terminals, airport runways, city skylines and scores of other boats on Botany Bay became the setting of a dedicated harvest of the best return on offer. Tailor.

The catch was mostly taken not long after dawn broke, between 6 and 7 in the morning. They are savagely ravenous hunters. We (2 of us) trolled small lures until one of us had a hit, then as they retrieved the fish, the other cast small silver lures in the direction of the action, usually hooking up. When that dried up, we moved on to another troll and repeated, diving birds generally leading the way. We stopped well short of a bag limit, figuring we were missing out on other options that never came through, only to come back to find them (and the Australian salmon chasing the same baitfish) a lot more picky about lures in the full light of day.

Most fisherman tend to favour pan-fried or battered and deep-fried tailor – but a lot of fishermen tend to prefer almost all fish that way. Served with beer. Other fishers’ favourites include smoking and the cheeky recipe offering of “use as bait to catch a snapper [Pagrus auratus]; then cook the snapper”. Whole baked fish seems the best idea to me though. For one thing, and who hasn’t over-cooked firmer non-oily fish like flathead, you are unlikely to get it wrong and dry it out. Tailor are indeed soft and they do indeed taste a bit oily and fishy. Some find baking mutes the slightly strong taste. You can still catch that flavour and use it well by catching it in pan juices and then a sauce. A sorrel sauce (like here), or in any case something with both lemon and herbs (parsley, basil, mint) to balance the strong tailor taste, but using less oil than most recipes may advise and perhaps a bit more salt. Or in my case, pie gravy – this time a variation below on a recently posted recipe (here) – because I am currently a little bit obsessed with the delights of fish pies.

I tend to top and tail all fish these days, feeding the offcuts (less the razor teeth) to the dog; and for whole baked tailor this seems to work very well

I tend to top and tail all fish these days, feeding the offcuts (less the razor teeth) to the dog; and for whole baked tailor this seems to work very well

Recipe: Tailor and mussel pie

Lay four tailor out, just overlapping in a baking dish. Drizzle with oil and salt, giving it a rub if you are inclined (don’t worry too much about adding any other flavours because they come later). Cook for 30 mins at 200C; skin should be crinkly but not burnt and the flesh should pull easily from the bone. Let it cool and deflesh; keep the skin with the meat. Pour the pan juices and the fish frames into a pot with a big bunch of herbs (any or all of (in my personal choice of priority) kaffir lime leaf, lemon myrtle, Thai basil, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, sage, rosemary, Vietnamese mint, lemongrass, dill, sweet or perennial basil, mint, fennel, marjoram, oregano, celery and/or lovage). The amount of herbs should be pretty huge, to the extent that it would be silly expensive if they were all shop bought, so it will probably hinge to a great extent upon what you can lay your hands on. Add a cup or so of water and lay 1kg of mussels on top (NZ greenlips, pretty affordable as far as seafood goes, a good sustainable option and a great contributor of both meat and stock flavour – always buy them frozen (outside of NZ) because they all leave the country this way, so why compromise freshness with ‘thawed for your convenience’). Steam the mussels (in the shell ideally) and stop before they start to lose any plumpness. Allow it to cool enough to pick out the mussel meat. Strain the stock and put enough of in a jar to shake with, and disperse, 3 Tblsp flour. Sauté a diced onion and then some crushed garlic in the pot with a generous chunk of butter and when it is golden/translucent, put everything back in with it (with a tsp of smoked paprika if you like) and stir, stir, stir. Sprinkle extra flour if too runny or add milk if too thick, all the time stirring. Hopefully the mix can take ten minutes of this so the flour gets a decent cooking. The tailor will be broken down into a fishy gloop with the nuggets of mussel suspended in it. Add a cup (or otherwise to taste) of grated cheddar cheese, stir in and pour the lot in a baking dish that works as a pie dish. Allow it to cool before covering with puff or other pie pastry and bake until the pastry is right.

Serve with a topping of sour cream and a pie sauce of choice – in this case a wild plum ketchup from a recent forage

Serve with a topping of sour cream and a pie sauce of choice – in this case a wild plum ketchup from a recent forage

Green tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)

Green tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)

As much as one may like the idea of treading a fairly harmonious path in a life that seeks to engage with other plants and animals, any vegetable grower is typically involved in some spiteful battle or other with insects throughout the year. Not all of them, but certainly a loathed few. At the moment, it being summer in Sydney, my most recent nemeses have been Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni). They have put an end to my tomato crop (Solanum lycopersicum).

This year, there will be no big canning session filling jars of passata and no big colourful salads of tomato chunks strewn with basil leaves and light salty white cheese. Fruit fly has hit my two big frames of tomatoes hard and I have cut them down (even the cherry tomatoes). For the big toms, it was an ambitious idea from the outset, with neither pesticide nor organic control (I just can’t go for the poison of the former or the expense and effort of the latter) or dumb luck to aid me.

I first thought I was admitting defeat, but with a kilo of green tomatoes per sacrificed plant, I have found that I am able to take some solace in the idea that, to some extent, I am simply quitting while ahead. Cleaned up, through cutting out the infested fruit or parts thereof, I have at least salvaged the wherewithal for enough green tomato chutney to last a year (and a tomato hot sauce which isn’t too far off a mix of this chutney and previously described recipes for plum ketchup, crab apple jelly, and chilli jam, with a big bunch of extra chillies for good measure).

The lesson learned for next year: Plant early varieties of tomatoes; as early as possible; only small cherries and cherry romas; hope from some ripe ones before new year; and then on the first of January, harvest the lot and make another batch of chutney.

Cleaning the infested crop – some were untouched, some crawling with larvae…

Cleaning the infested crop – some were untouched, some crawling with larvae…

… but it all cleaned up into a sizable haul

… but it all cleaned up into a sizable haul

Recipe

This recipe is a mix of fairly standard green tomato chutney recipes from Australia and New Zealand (and very probably Britain and elsewhere). It is scaled to 1kg of green tomatoes in terms of ingredients to be easily adjusted. The big room for movement is with chillies and garlic – if you like them, you could increase fivefold.

Ingredients

Green tomatoes (g)                                1000

Onions (g)                                             200

Cooking apples (g)                                 200

Sugar (Demerara / muscovado) (g)          200

Vinegar (malt / cider / wine) (ml)              450

Salt (Tblsp)                                           1

Sultanas (g)                                           100

Garlic (cloves)                                       5

Chillies (hot, medium sized)                    2

Ginger (grated fresh) (g)                          12

Spice (all spice, turmeric, coriander) (g)   11

Process

Heave it all in a pot and simmer, uncovered and free to reduce, for an hour or two. Ladle into scalded jars. If after getting most of the chutney out, the last couple of jars worth seem a bit runny, pile in a heap of chillies and garlic and keep cooking it down for a darker, fiery version. They say to leave it for a few weeks to meld, but I would call that optional.

Part of a year’s supply of green tomato chutney

Part of a year’s supply of green tomato chutney

Green tomato chutney (with some plum and green tom hot sauce as well) and eggs

Green tomato chutney (with some plum and green tom hot sauce as well) and eggs

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a summer ‘weed’ that is found through much of the world. Central Australian Aboriginal people used to (and a very few occasionally still do) wait for it to seed and pile it up in mounds; after some good dry desert heat, the withered plants can be pulled off to reveal a concentration of the tiny but nutritious seeds below. Throughout northern India and through to the Middle East, it is not just a foraged ‘welcome weed’ (or ‘volunteer plant’), it is even grown as a crop for its leaves (as it once was through a lot of Europe as well). Purslane is said to have the highest omega 3s of any vegetable and is a sure contender for that increasingly tedious epithet of ‘superfood’. This status, as well as being common in Central Mexican cuisine (where it is known as verdolagas) is said to be getting it increasingly on the food list rather than just the weed list in America. But across most of Australia it is simply a plant; one of those green things in the ground; neither worth eradicating nor using. It will be gone by winter after all.

Nonetheless, right now in mid-summer, purslane is doing very well across a good part of Australia. Basically, if you are looking for it, it is everywhere; the challenge is really only to find some growing in soil that you can trust. This particular harvest was essentially a matter of opportunism – which to my mind is utterly fundamental to foraging (in any sense). I was doing a survey in one of the back blocks of one of western Sydney’s old Olympic venues. I had already decided to do a saag for dinner and to stop off at one the small Indian food shops (which abound in much of Sydney’s west) to buy spices

I gather that saag basically means ‘greens’ (in Punjabi, Urdu and/or Hindi), and by inference, in the kitchen, it is a curry thereof. There was also some volunteer native spinach (Tetragonia tetragoniodes) doing so well under the citrus that I needed to cut it back whether for eating or not. Then there was some silverbeet (chard; Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla) that was close to giving up in the summer heat and our sandy soil (in which I would probably be better to intentionally grow purslane at this time of year); and also sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) that is getting by as a welcome enough ‘weed’ in the shade of intentional crops. Amaranth, with each passing week of summer, is also making more of an appearance. But it is the purslane, a genuine north Indian favourite, that is the forage that started the ball rolling.

Sow thistle or puha (Sonchus oleraceus)

Sow thistle or puha (Sonchus oleraceus)

Native spinach (Tetragonia tetragoniodes)

Native spinach (Tetragonia tetragoniodes)

It doesn’t matter too much which green, and perhaps the more the better (purslane, spinach, chard / silver beet, mustard greens, kale, amaranth, fat hen, mallow, chickweed, native spinach, beetroot tops, cress, sow thistle, etc, etc)

It doesn’t matter too much which green, and perhaps the more the better (purslane, spinach, chard / silver beet, mustard greens, kale, amaranth, fat hen, mallow, chickweed, native spinach, beetroot tops, cress, sow thistle, etc, etc)

The recipe is wonderfully simple and suits just about any green you can lay your hands on, foraged, grown or bought.

Recipe:

Start by toasting the whole spices – mine were whole cumin seeds, coriander seeds and a light touch of peppercorns, fenugreek and cardamom seeds which went into the mortar with dried chillies once toasted to fragrant and then joined by powdered turmeric. You can add whatever else blows your hair back among cinnamon, cloves, ginger, fenugreek leaves, etc – only giving whole seeds the toasting though.

Next, lightly sautee some onions in butter (ghee if you can) or oil and then pile the garlic, spices and chopped greens in and stir on low heat until wilted to a decent tender that should coincide with golden brown onions and garlic that isn’t burning to sticky and/or bitter (10 minutes or so), adding small amounts of liquid if required. I am also inclined to add some precooked chickpeas (kind of like canned ones but tastier because they are slow cooked in stock) – which probably makes it chana saag.

The handy thing with saag, is that with some cubed cheese you have saag paneer (using actual paneer (a style of Indian cheese)) if you have it, otherwise cottage cheese, or queso fresco (or fetta if you give mind to it being salted while paneer isn’t), but in any case not your everyday fatty yellow cheese); with some cubed meat you have saag gosht; and with hard boiled egg you have anda saag. In our house of both vegetarians and ominivores, with saag we can meet our different dietary inclinations with additions at the end rather than with entirely separate dishes. While there is something of an assumption that you would serve it over rice, the addition of the chickpeas or something else to bulk it up makes this optional. A side serve of good chutney (or salsa verde) is a good touch.

Australian forager’s saag: The roo, cubed and cooked sous vide at around 70 degrees with butter and herbs for the better part of a day is browned off and stirred in for the meat eaters (saag gosht), while the vegos still get a good feed from cheese (saag paneer) and/or chickpeas (chana saag). I don’t know what to call it when it is all in there…

Australian forager’s saag: The roo, cubed and cooked sous vide at around 70 degrees with butter and herbs for the better part of a day is browned off and stirred in for the meat eaters (saag gosht), while the vegos still get a good feed from cheese (saag paneer) and/or chickpeas (chana saag). I don’t know what to call it when it is all in there…

Wild plums (Prunus domestica)

Wild plums (Prunus domestica)

Outside Jugiong, just as portrayed in the famous Australian folk tune, a track does actually wind back past an old fashioned shack and joins the road to Gundagai (the four-lane Hume Highway these days). The Murrumbidgee is indeed flowing and what happens to be growing, as matter of interest to me, are wild plums (Prunus domestica).

If you are on country roads along the eastern Australian range or slopes almost anywhere from New South Wales to Tasmania, January is the month for foraging wild plums. Of your common roadside fruit forages, the autumn fruits of blackberries won’t be right for another month or so and the apples perhaps another month after that. Plums are the summer thing. They can be red, yellow or something in between, or even that dark purplish burgundy like bullaces in Britain (often ripening later though). From whence they hail, among the named varieties of orchard-grown fruit, and whether from European or Asian stock, is a mystery to me; but as feral wildings, they have undoubtedly departed somewhat from domestic form. For one thing, they are a lot smaller than you might expect and you might pass them in the car thinking they are some kind of unknown inedible berry rather than the familiar drupe (botanically speaking) of the most common of stone fruits. Their prominence along roadsides suggests an initial origin as pips thrown out of passing car windows. But there are areas, like the road out of Jugiong, where their abundance suggests that they are some generations past being a travellers snack, and almost certainly instead dispersed by birds or even simply just rolling a little further down the hill from mum.

YellowPlums

RedPlums

With them, you can of course make a lovely plum jam, which has traditionally been my go-to response. They are pretty much like your shop-bought plum, but smaller and much more blessed with the sharp acidity in the skin which some of us love. But we are kind of full up with jams and jellies and don’t really get through that much of it anyway. So it’s plum sauce. Not the Chinese one that goes with Peking duck, but a more an Australianised British traditional stalwart of days gone by – much like the ditty Along the Road to Gundagai. This one is pretty loyal to Stephanie Alexander’s take on it. A well-tested standard recipe is worth it in this case if only to make sure you get something pourable that isn’t too runny – vary the flavours if you like, but not the solids to liquids ratio. It is a vinegar/sweet/savoury/fruit acid sauce that works as a topping for close to anything. Basically it is all that the ubiquitous tomato sauce/ketchup is, but better.

Ingredients:

Per kilo of plums:

1 tsp cloves

2/3 tsp whole allspice (pimento)

2/3 tsp whole peppercorns

1.5 cups brown sugar

2 tsp salt

1tblsp grated ginger

2 cups white wine (or apple cider) vinegar

1 chilli (or lots more, or none)

Methods

Stone the plums and crack half the stones (bash with a mallet in a tea towel) and put them in a muslin bag (this give pectin to get things gelling). Tie the spices in a separate muslin bag. Put it all in a non-reactive pot and simmer for half an hour. Remove the bags, giving them a good squeeze and press the rest through a sieve, fine colander or food mill back into the rinsed pot. Simmer for as long as it takes to get the thickness you want (remembering it will thicken when cool and wants to be able to be poured like tomato ketchup). It can then go in either sterilised jars or bottles (depending on thickness).

Cooking wild plum ketchup with cracked stones and spices in a partitioned wine bag instead of muslin

Cooking wild plum ketchup with cracked stones and spices in a partitioned wine bag instead of muslin

Although many would like to see such home-made delicacies in lovely glass with some neat finishes like a square of gingham cloth on top secured with a ribbon, we figure this is more an everyday kind of condiment and went for a plastic squeeze bottle (but wouldn’t do that for any stores we planned on keeping on the shelf for long).

Wild plum ketchup: A once-a-year harvest of your everyday sauce (on yet another fish pie)

Wild plum ketchup: A once-a-year harvest of your everyday sauce (on yet another fish pie)

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