This has got to be I would think, quite possibly the most celebrated pagan holiday? I love this time of the year, autumn is my favourite with the crisp fresh air first thing in the morning and the colour of the autumn trees. It is the end of summer and the third and final harvest of the year, a time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, and a time to celebrate the lives of those that have passed and to remember and honour our ancestors. Oh … and eat lots of sweets. Samhain is a good time to look back over the past year and let go of that which did not serve you and look forward to the year ahead. It is also an excellent time to work with your divination skills.
Aside from all the Samhain goodies that will give us all a sugar overdose, foods for this season make me think of big hearty casseroles, home baked bread and stick to your rib puddings.
Autumn is a fabulous time of the year to go out for a walk and although there isn’t a huge amount to be found in the hedgerows at this time of the year you might be lucky enough to bag yourself nettles, sorrel, cow parsley, horseradish, crab apples, juniper berries, rosehips, sloes, chestnuts, walnuts and wild mushrooms.
Veggies that are in season in October/November are artichokes, aubergines, beetroot, borlotti beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chicory, courgettes, cucumber, endive, fennel, French beans, garlic, leeks, onions, parsnips, peas, peppers, chillies, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, radish, runner beans, spinach, swede, sweetcorn, tomatoes, turnips and watercress.
October/November seasonal fruits are: Apples, blackberries, black currants, damsons, greengages, grapes, medlars, melons, peaches, nectarines, pears, quince, raspberries and rhubarb.
Vampire’s Blood (OK…blackberry cordial)
A yummy sweet syrup with spices and optional alcohol. Delicious cold with water over ice or made with hot water for a warming drink but it can also be poured over ice cream or steamed pudding.
500g/17 ½ oz blackberries
500g/17 ½ oz sugar
2-3 tablespoons water
Optional – 6 tablespoons brandy
You will need a large jar or heat proof jug, pop the blackberries and the water into it. Pour half the sugar on top of the fruit. Stand the jar in a saucepan of hot water, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 ½ hours (keep an eye on the water level, don’t let it boil out). Then strain the contents of the jar into a large saucepan squishing all the fruit through a sieve. Add in the rest of the sugar and bring the mixture back to the boil, stirring all the time. Once the sugar has dissolved keep stirring and boiling for a further five minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. You may have to skim a little from the top of the mixture. You can now add in 6 tablespoons of brandy if you wish, giving it a good stir. Pour into clean jars and put lids on.
Magic of the ingredients:
Blackberries – protection, healing, money
Sugar – love and to make life sweet
Water – emotions, release, purification
Taken from A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Food
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