Some of the recipes on my blog involve going foraging for wild food. Foraging is something I have discovered over the last few years and it has gone from grabbing a few blackberries at the side of the road to full on wellies and knee deep in streams. Foraging for food is immensely enjoyable not least because you are getting something for nothing. It allows you to connect with the land and fully appreciate where the food has come from giving you an excuse to be a bona fide Ray Mears.
Picking fruit from the hedgerows does have something a little whimsical about it. Sometimes I’m convinced Grieg’s Morgenstimmung will blast out of a nearby copse as I’m picking. I must warn you that foraging is a good couple of hours of work, scratched arms aplenty and excellent fun if you take a friend.
There are all sorts of fruits and berries waiting to be picked by eager hands: sloes, rosehips, blackberries, damsons and apples can all be found with a little searching and bravery. I say bravery because foraging is always fraught with a small amount of danger. For instance, a wasp can easily be inhaled if you become distracted by a particularly juicy apple.
If you do go out to scrounge the shrubbery make sure you are meant to be there and haven’t inadvertently strutted into someone’s garden and started handling their hydrangeas. It goes (almost) without saying to be careful that what you are picking is indeed what you intended to pick and you haven’t confused your rosehips and laurels.
I very much advise you wash your bounty before using it as you might end up with a few (used to be) living hedgerow beings in your finished food; extra protein that no one is likely to appreciate.
There’s a fine line between delicious and dangerous. Munch wisely.
You can check out what I’ve been foraging for and what I’ve been cooking up with all my foraging recipes.
The wild food that tends to be easiest to find are: sloes, elderflower and wild garlic. I’ve popped my favourite recipes for these below.