Foraging for free food

See what I did there?

Hello again, a couple of weeks ago I blogged about my Wednesday walk, well something amazing happened while I was walking, I FOUND FOOD, lots of it. Now most of us have been blackberry picking at some point or another even scrumping is not uncommon but what about those berries over there? what are they? These are the sort of questions I have asked myself for years but never quite found the time to find out, until now.

There are some things I could identify from walks with my mum, elderberries, rosehips, blackberries, and the like so I stared there and googles recipes when I found that my walk took me in to natures supermarket. I have made hedgerow jam (not hedgehog), I have made plumb and elderberry jam, elderberry cordial (can you spot the theme?) and half made rosehip cordial (I over sugared so need to make another batch and add them together and reduce. All this was made before I levelled up to Forager status, now things are getting serious.

I have started thinking “can I eat that?” about most plants and it turns out that mostly “yes” indeed I can, as my interest piqued I realised that coming home and googleing was getting a tad tiresome. I went looking for apps to help me identify the plants I was looking at, and there are apps out there but non were quite what I was after. There are flash card apps to help you learn which plants are which but they are no good “on the spot”, there are apps to help you locate all the tasty plants but they are user built so unless some one else is foraging in my area I’d still be in the dark, Cue the book.

Food For Free is a great book, it has a month by month guide for when each plant is at it’s best, it has photos and drawings to help me be sure what I am picking is what I think it it, it has recipes, it has my heart.

Armed with my book I will travel the county (for now) and eat for free (well cheaper any way), this is where I tell you the rules;

most of these rules are common sense but as as common sense is not as common as we are lead to believe…

1) Pick less than you leave, you need to leave enough seeds for a plant to reproduce, enough leaves for the plant to grow, and the local animals could do with some food too.

2) Look at the surrounding plants, if plants in the area look brown and sickly it is best not to eat anything near.

3) Roads are not good, it is really not worth picking anything form roadsides, exhaust fumes are not tasty.

4) Do not pick from below knee hight, dogs get every where. OK so that isn’t strictly true but for berries I follow that one, leaves are a different matter.

5) This is a biggie, know what you are picking. I mean if there is even a moment of doubt check, double check, triple check. Unless you are totally sure about what you have do not risk it.

A good rule of thumb is to be cheery, I know it sounds odd but smile at people, I have ended up talking to a wide array of people on my walks and non forging observant people tend to point you in the direction of out of the way stashes that go unpicked.

Lastly I would like mention fungus, I hope to level up to fungus but as there are some “game over” mushrooms out there I will be holding on for a bit, and maybe booking myself on to a coarse

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