I have long loved foraging. As a child, my grandparents and parents told me tales of their own childhood scrumping; took me strawberry picking (which felt like foraging as I wasn’t paying); and introduced me to the wonders of the hedgerows.
Over the years, I’ve added annual elderflower and elderberry foraging to top up my drinks cabinet on a budget; blackberry picking for pies, crumbles, sauces and vodka; mushrooms (but only when with someone who can make sure I don’t make any deadly mistakes); flowers for various recipes (dandelion cordial is not worth the stained fingers, in my experience); and seasonal delights such as sorrel.
I love learning about new things to forage (Japanese knotweed intrigues me as it is invasive and edible: ideal for post-apocalyptic recipes).
Trading time directly for food is my idea of living. This week, I’ve foraged near-daily as everything is ripening.
I’ve already made a blackberry and apple pie, gluten free oat and honey crumble, and blackberry and apple brandy; and am looking forward to making blackberry vodka and elderberry port, along with some more creative recipes. I’ll post them here as I do.
If you start foraging now, you could have a full Christmas drinks cabinet for (almost) free, along with pies, jams, puddings and treats galore. And foraging is a great way to practice mindfulness (being present helps you avoid prickles), stretch your body and improve your balance, as well as providing food and drink for free. Give it a go and discover the benefits for yourself.