Get out in the fresh air and embrace all autumn has to offer.
Foraging for Fun
You'll be amazed at the delights that await the eager forager in both rural and urban locations across the UK and Ireland.
Hedgerows are bursting with this sweet juicy fruit that are perfect for jams, desserts and are easily frozen. The ripest berries are ready for picking in September. Why not make our Yoghurt, granola and berry breakfast pot? Also, see our smoothie recipes for inspiration; try our Earl of Berry to get you started!
A produce found in most gardens, once rose petals have died off they leave a red seed pod. High in vitamins A, B and C, rose hips are often overlooked, they can be used to make tea, wine, syrups and jellies. Beware of the irritating hairs inside the berries - don’t eat them whole!
The white flowers (also edible) from this plant transform into the distinctive dark purple berries used to make wines, liquors, jams and added to fruity desserts. It’s very easy to make elderberry cordial, we like All Recipes simple recipe.
Found just about everywhere, these humble nettles have many uses from hot teas to cold drinks and soups. One of our favourite recipes is nettle pesto; nettles can also be used to make a delicious humous too, just don’t forget your gloves!
- 2-3 cups of nettle leaves
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup olive or rapeseed oil
- 2-4 cloves of garlic
- Handful of pine nuts
Blanch washed nettles in a pan of boiling water for 1 minute, squeeze out as much water as possible. Throw all the ingredients in a blender and blitz; serve with your favourite pasta.
Much smaller than a standard apple and with a much sharper taste, the little crab apple can be turned into delicious jellies, jams, chutneys and crumbles.
Usually found in a net bag at Christmas in the supermarket. These little nuts can be eaten fresh when they are green, or leave them to dry out and they become the golden brown colour we are more familiar with. Equally, delicious in sweet and savoury dishes.
Easily identified by its distinctive smell and short hairy leaves; the mint plant is usually used in a simple sauce that accompanies roast lamb. Can be used to make tea, add flavour to chutneys and infuse oils. This prolific herb is found almost everywhere.
Apples are plentiful across the UK with an array of varieties to choose from. This extremely versatile fruit is used in both sweet and savoury dishes, it can be baked, sliced, puréed but best enjoyed eaten whole. Apples wrapped individually in newspaper will keep for months in a cold, dark environment.
The flower heads make delicious wine, syrups and jams. The root can be roasted to make tea, or a coffee style drink. With a taste similar to peppery rocket, the green leaves will enhance a salad; when cooked they can be used like fresh greens or spinach.
Not to be confused with the poisonous horse chestnut (conkers) these are plentiful in the autumn with a spiked husk. Found throughout woodlands and parks alike, these are delicious served hot straight from the oven!
- If you don’t know what it is do not eat it! Buy a good foragers guide book and identify the plant at home.
- Do not forage on private land without permission, ask the landowner first. It’s ok in public space and footpaths.
- You’ll need a good pair of scissors or secateurs, a container, and some sturdy gardening gloves and shoes.
- It’s good practice to only take what you will use and leave enough for others and more importantly local wildlife.
- Avoid heavy traffic areas that might pollute crops; also, don’t pick at a height that animals could have used as a toilet.
- Always follow the country code; take your litter home, be mindful of wildlife, try not to tread on wild flowers, and always close gates behind you.
- Why not attend a foraging course? There are many held across the UK and Ireland. https://valehousekitchen.co.uk/ https://www.foragingcourses.com/ http://huntergathercook.com/
- Foraging is not just rural - see Forage London for what can be found in an around cities.
- The Woodland Trust gives guidance and advice to all foraging novices.
The Countryside Code advocates:
- RESPECT for other people, to
- PROTECT our natural environment and to
- ENJOY the outdoors.
Download your free copy here
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