The leaves have changed.
My land is covered in a veil of fallen leaves, remnants of summers prime. We are entering the darker time, the static withdrawal, the pause before the re-fruiting. This is the transition time. The apple trees still have a few ripe fruit clinging to their branches even though the leaves have turned yellow and orange. Random hawthorn trees are yet covered in bunches of blood red haws. And in the underbrush, rosehips hang from leafless bushes like so many cherries.
These last remaining fruit beg to be used. Harvest and dry them. Mix into tea blends and savor on the cold mornings to come. Cover them with brandy to flavor and add medicine, mix the infused spirit with hot water and honey and enjoy on fire warmed nights. Or simmer into sweet preserves that can be enjoyed on the winter days ahead.
Here is my recipe for a fruit butter using this trifecta of fall. Begin with apples and add rosehips, hawthorn berries and a touch of cinnamon, the result is a heart healthy preserve that tastes vaguely of citrus. Enjoy it through the winter.
Rosehip, Hawthorn, Apple Butter
4 lbs Apples
2 cups Rosehips- seeds removed
1 1/2 cup Hawthorn Berries
1 cup Cider Vinegar
2 cups Water
2 cups Sugar
Juice of one lemon and rind
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Cut apples into pieces leaving seeds and skin. Add all fruit to a large pot along with cider and water, bring to a boil and simmer for twenty minutes or until all the fruit is soft. Put all the fruit through a food mill and discard the skins and seeds. Return to pot and add remaining ingredients. Simmer on low heat stirring often until the mixture has significantly thickened. You can tell when it ready because a spoonful put onto a room temperature plate will thicken and gel. No pectin is needed as these fruit all have large amounts of pectin. Pour into half pint jars and can in a water bath for ten minutes.
Brief Notes On The Heart Healing Properties Of Each Fruit
Hawthorn- Among other things, the berries or Haws of the the hawthorn tree have been used for centuries as a medicine for the heart and cardiovascular system. It prevents heart disease, strengthens the cardiac muscles and promotes circulation.
Rose Hips- Are higher in vitamin C than citrus fruit, however the vitamin C is said to be destroyed with heat, so do not hope to get your daily dose of C from the above preparation. However, rosehips are known to be a beneficial tonic for the heart and other organ systems.
Apples- Apples are a natural source of iron. Ingesting apples or fresh apple juice daily has been effective in blood building and treatment of anemia.
Cinnamon- Cinnamon prevents clotting of the blood. It therefore acts essentially as a blood thinner, reducing the effects of hardened arteries and decreasing blood pressure.