Mohonia Aquifolium is a tough plant, and was here growing in the garden when we moved. It is a large shrub growing against a stone wall...
In mid winter before the flowers appear the foliage turns a red and bronze colour. It is soon followed by clusters of sweet scented flowers which are a magnet to early foraging bumble bees.
During the Summer, when it was heavy with its small purple fruit, Blackbirds soon followed by other fruit eaters started to harvest the crop, with branches weighed down.
Not surprisingly, after a little investigation I decided to gather a bowlful of the small fruit.
Having washed them, I put them in the freezer.
I had thought of adding them to some jam or fruit jelly, and had quite forgotten about them until the end of October. When I realised that it was a little late to start to look for sloes, the thought of trying a little 'Mahonia Gin' came up.
My current gin of choice, on account of quality and price is this one...here photographed with another of Lidl's best products in this household...
I added the frozen mahonia berries, with equal weight of caster sugar to a kilner jar, and then just covered them with gin.
I came across Geoff's post and having read that the berries are not poisonous, was reasonably happy in trying this just for Mr S and myself. The verdict is that it is worth making and since there were so many berries...enough for us and the birds...a small glass each over the festive period topped up with our favourite Feverfew tonic brought back memories of summer, flowers and birds.