When Summer in Ireland comes to an end there is a slight drop in temperature and the evenings get a little shorter but what comes next is an amazing transformation and the beginning of a new season. Once the leaves begin to fall from the trees the views of the countryside become a wonderful glow of golden and orange. With these seasonal colours it is a sign that Autumn is here.
There is also a change in the types of food available. In Autumn an abundance of fruits and nuts begin to appear on trees and shrubs across the country. It is a feast for birds and insects but also perfect for human consumption where it is a busy time for foraging. A whole range of tasty treats can be made with what is gathered.
Tasty treats made with Autumn fruits
Crab Apples normally ripen in October and are very easy to retrieve from branches of the tree. Tasty crab apples are used for making apple tarts, crumbles or pies. Sloes, the fruits of the blackthorn tree also begin to ripen in Autumn. As they have a very bitter taste they are normally used for making wine or gin.
Time for Blackberry picking
Blackberry picking is one of Ireland’s favourite autumn past-times and the berries should be ripe enough and ready to pick now. They are rich in vitamins, plump and shiny in appearance and come off the plant easily once you grasp them.
Here is a treat for you – Our Chef Olivia has put together a simple Blackberry Jam recipe for you to try for yourself.
Traditional Blackberry Jam
1kg of sugar
1kg of blackberries, washed
Sterilized Jam jars and jam pot covers
1. Place 1kg of sugar, 1kg of blackberries and juice and zest of one lemon in a large heavy bottomed pot.
2. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring all the time until all the sugar has dissolves. Cook the jam for approximately 15 minutes or until it reaches 105˚C on a sugar thermometer.
3. Remove from the heat and carefully transfer to sterilised jars, cover each with a disc of wax paper and seal tightly with a lid.
4. Kept in a cool dark place the jam will keep for up to 12 months if you can keep it that long.
What goes better with homemade jam but a homemade seed and honey bread and you will find one of our very own delicious recipes here.
Autumn brings a number of food and harvesting festivals taking place in a celebration of the best of Irish food. Popular festivals include the Belfast Food and Drink Festival, the Waterford Harvest Festival, the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival and a number of other food events happening nationwide. Along with the popularity of food festivals, a number of food trails take place where you can discover and forage the best foods. Find out more about Ireland’s food festivals and food trails on discoverireland.com
On the Shannon Princess we celebrate the new autumn season using a whole range natural ingredients creating gourmet dishes from breakfast through to dinner. As we cruise on our luxury barge you will have time to sit back and appreciate the landscape of the Irish countryside and taste the best of Irish food. Book now to enjoy a truly unique experience no matter what time of year.