General ramblings

Autumn Foraging

September 28, 2015

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…

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:

Damsons2

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!

Damson harvesting

This is the specially adapted end. Apparently you heat up the end to get the ends to curl over.

waste pipe

I also want hubby to make me one of these for pulling down the high branches:

Hook

Failing that, you just need a tall person…

Damson harvesting 3

I would have easily walked past this wild marjoram growing by the side of the path without even noticing it:

Marjoram

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:

Fennel2

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:

Rosehips

These are the wild variety. They are much smaller:

Rosehips-wild

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!

Rosehip claw

Haw berries can look quite similar to rosehips, but the leaves are very different:

Haws

We collected a good box full of cobnuts:

Cobnuts

And stopped on the way back to sample some sorrel:

Sorrel

When we arrived back, we all set to making ourselves a three course meal with our finds:

Menu

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.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Rae Hodgetts September 28, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Mr H is getting very excited about foraging blackberries whilst walking our dog at the moment! We both used to pick lots as children and I think it takes him back to carefree days. I said that it was just lovely to have a walk together and for him to have time in the fresh air with no pressures or deadlines. Regardless of the motive, the outcome has been a couple of lovely blackberry & apple crumbles!

    • Reply Jen September 30, 2015 at 10:14 am

      That sounds blissful Rae!

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