Last Christmas, I was super excited to get a Gift Voucher for a Foraging Day from my very lovely hubby. I checked out the courses on offer, and the one that really caught my eye was the Autumn Fruit and Nut course, which looked fab. But there was one problem. I would have to wait until Autumn. And I am not a patient person..!
The day finally arrived on Saturday, and we were blessed with perfect sunny Autumnal day.
I armed myself with a wicker basket (I emptied the kindling out of the one in the lounge), and tupperware boxes, and borrowed my mother in laws rather fierce looking nutcrackers…
What a wonderful day!
The first ‘free food’ we found was this tree with Damsons/bullaces. Some were a little on the shrivelled side, but we still managed a very respectable half a bag:
We were introduced to a very useful foraging tool-this piece of specially adapted waste pipe, that allows you to reach up and poke the fruit off. It then drops down the pipe and into your hand!
This is the specially adapted end. Apparently you heat up the end to get the ends to curl over.
I also want hubby to make me one of these for pulling down the high branches:
Failing that, you just need a tall person…
I would have easily walked past this wild marjoram growing by the side of the path without even noticing it:
And the same for this fennel. The seeds aren’t dry yet, so you can either wait for them to dry (and hope the birds don’t get there first!), or harvest them, and dry them out in the airing cupboard:
Walking past someone’s garden, we spotted these very plump rosehips. These are a from a cultivated rose, but you can still use them to make rosehip syrup:
These are the wild variety. They are much smaller:
And you know for sure if you have a dog rose, when you see these thorns, that are the shape of a dog’s dew claw!
Haw berries can look quite similar to rosehips, but the leaves are very different:
We collected a good box full of cobnuts:
And stopped on the way back to sample some sorrel:
When we arrived back, we all set to making ourselves a three course meal with our finds:
It was delicious 🙂
I feel much more confident about making sure I’m picking the right things now. It was just as important to be shown the things not to pick, as it was to see all the abundance of the things that can be picked.
If anyone is in the South West, I would highly recommend the lovely, and very knowledgable James at Hedgerow Harvest-not only can you go foraging for fruit and nuts, he also does fungi foraging, seashore walks, and even truffle hunting!
I’m putting together a post on Make Do and Mend-able with some recipes for all this wonderful Autumn bounty, so I’ll come back and link up when it’s done! In the meantime, here’s a piece I wrote for the Mirror Money.