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"Whatever’s left in the hedgerow" jam tarts

Whatever's-left Hedgerow Jam TartsWhatever's-left Hedgerow Jam TartsYou get what you get and you’ll like it!

While you might have heard the phrase once or twice and probably felt disappointed, since there’s often some better ideal to be dreamed after, there’s something to be said about enjoying what you have available to you right now. Foraging (much like life we could argue) is like that, you might go out with something particular in mind and sure it would be great of you found it but there’s no guarantee you’ll actually find what you were looking for. Does that mean you go home empty handed or do you see what is left that you can still enjoy in its place?


Depending on where you are and your local climate, this is generally a tough time of year to be foraging. A forage in December means that much of the green stuff has been frost damaged, the ground itself may be too hard to dig through to hidden roots, and for the same reasons ground-dwelling mushrooms find it equally hard to push up through the leaf litter. 

What is out there is a handful of berries here and there, all softened by the frost so not much good for anything - except making jam, and things with jam in/on them... Rose Hips still await, as do the odd Damson and Sloe, the occasional Apple and even under-ripe red blackberries can be improved by adding to other fruit with a little sugar.

These days in Britain we seem to get a good few days of warm(er) wet weather that can allow the odd seedling to sprout up, tricked into thinking it's spring but they're not to be counted on and young plants can prove tricky to identify to a beginner. As usual only pick what you are 1000% sure of.


Of course you could cheat a ways and subject your fingers merely to the icy contents of your freezer, and any fruit you hopefully stashed in it earlier in the year… that’s what I did! What? I don’t see it as cheating, I foraged it first, and it was ‘whatever was left’ alright.

See below for the recipe for what I’m calling “Whatever’s Left Hedgerow-Jam Tarts”, definitely a winner in the anti mince pie camp:Ready for the ovenReady for the oven


For the Jam recipe and instructions see here>



shortcrust pastry (sweet or savoury, it’s up to you)



oil/butter (for greasing)

plain flour (for rolling)



1. Flour your work surface and lightly grease a yorkshire/muffin tray. Preheat your oven to 200°C.Fresh out of the oven!Fresh out of the oven!

2. Roll out your pastry to around ½ a cm thickness, as evenly as possible.

3. Using a pastry cutter (or whatever you might need to improvise with) cut the pastry into circles slightly larger than the holes in your yorkshire/muffin tray.

4. Press the pastry circles carefully into place and add a teaspoon of jam in the centre of each. Don't put any more than that in or they'll bubble over!

5. Bake for 10-15mins until the pastry is golden brown, allow to cool before eating – the jam will be dangerously hot for a long time! You have been warned ;)


Store your jam tarts in an airtight container and they should stay good for up to a week, as if they'll be there that long...


My jam consisted of mostly rose hips, some frozen strawberries that never did find their way into a summer cocktail, the odd remaining blackberry that was in with the hips, and a  small handful of booze-infused sloes I fished out of my maturing Sloe Vodka jar! I'll probably never be able to recreate the same mixture again but I hope I do as they're delicious (you can't taste the vodka)!


Let us know what ended up in your mix, we'd love to hear from you!


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Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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