Wilton Way Workshop – 20th August

On a sunny Tuesday in August, East End Jam conducted a workshop for the local community of the Wilton Way Estate. We were joined by young people and adults alike, all brimming with enthusiasm for the upcoming foraging adventure! We began at the local community centre, immediately discovering a huge blackberry bush, ripe for the picking. We gathered a large quantity of blackberries very quickly, being sure to leave plenty for other foragers and the local insect population. Having had our fill, we carried on around the estate. Next we stumbled upon a vast apple tree, having gained permission from the home owner, we took out our picking sticks and began fishing for apples.

Using our picking sticks to reach the apples.

Our next find was a Mulberry tree, although this time we had to work harder to see the fruits of our labour. The fruits were scarce and high up, almost too high to see! We managed to collectively gather just over a handful, enough to complement a mixed jam. Further along the estate we discovered a Loquat fruit tree, its fruits were visibly starting to rot so we had to be very selective when picking. Along the way we also picked and learnt more about other fruits such as elderberries. Having exhausted the estate of it pick-able fruit, again ensuring we left enough for the local animal life, we headed back to the community centre.

The children using the picking sticks to reach the high Mulberries.

The community centre also has a small but fruitful garden which we were allowed to pick from. Here we discovered Courgettes, Tomatoes, and Rhubarb! With a wide selection of fruits and vegetables to experiment with, we headed inside the community centre to utilise its cooking facilities. As a group we decided to make a mixed fruit jam, an east end chutney and a jelly. We began by washing, peeling, coring and chopping the fruits, ready to be boiled.

Some of the fruits we found on the Wilton Way estate.

With all the fruit prepped, we began making our jams, jellies and chutneys. During this process, many of the participants would rotate between assisting with the cooking and making labels ready for when our edibles were made. We weighed the fruits, working out how much sugar we would need for each mixture. Then, we started boiling the fruits with a small amount of water and the sugar. With each concoction reaching its needed temperature, we began sanitising the jars ready to be filled. After testing the gooey-ness of each jam/chutney/jelly, we took them off the heat. Using a jam funnel we scooped each mixture into a jar, allowing it to cool slightly before applying the label.

Our Jelly and Chutneys boiling on the hob.

Each of our foragers and cookers went home with a couple of jars of their desired jam, jelly and/or chutney. Many of the participants were already aware of the fruits available to them but were blown away by the quantity of fruit we managed to pick. Enough for every participant to really benefit from their days work! We had a fantastic day on Wilton Way and met some really brilliant foragers! So thank you, Hackney, for getting involved in learning about your local environment, whilst also getting to know your local community! Until next time, keep foraging!