Tonic - Black Gems

Thursday, August 13, 2015

This morning we got up to a grey, misty morning. The kind where things feel slow and heavy, you sense the sun is trying to burn the clouds away, yet autumn is creating a barrier of dampness.

Eventually, the bright rays will overpower the morning stupor until next time Autumn tries its luck but for now, all I can think of is crumble. 

There comes a time in the year, where you can walk along a path you tread daily, and start to notice something glorious.

Slowly, little black gems begin to shine amongst the hedgerow, amongst the hawthorn and long grasses, where before there was nothing but thorns. 

At first, there's just a couple. They stand proud and full amongst their younger, more anaemic, mates. Gradually, the green turns pink and then bruises. Suddenly you can descend, laden with bags and pots and tubs, to thrust your hands greedily at the bushes. 

Sometimes, they are guarded by an eight-legged sentinel, their web creating a vein-like barrier between you and your prize. If, like me, arachnids are not your friends, you leave those berries for future braver gatherers. 

You can reach onto your toes, try and dodge the nettles but once your containers are full it's time to head home with stained fingers and pricked forearms. 

There's something incredibly rewarding about weighing your wares, washing and preparing, portioning and freezing. 

You might taste a couple as a sneaky quality check, but you lovingly put your jewels away for a couple of months, content in the knowledge that, soon, crumble is coming.

This post first appeared on The Mrs Makes on 1st August 2014. It has been reposted here with permission from the original author. 

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