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Does anyone go foraging?

(50 Posts)
Hopefully Mon 01-Jun-09 13:27:50

I've bought a couple of books on food in the wild, and I'm enjoying my first, very tentative, forays into foraging. By which I mean, I went walking and picked some elderflowers for cordial! Cordial is infusing nicely, and smells divine.

Today I went out and got comfrey for making healing salve, and what I think is a type of mint, but I'm going to google it in a minute to be on the safe side.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how much we can get from foraging (while obviously not taking too much and ruining the countryside!) - green and low cost!

Anyone else?

Overmydeadbody Mon 01-Jun-09 13:29:40

Yes, my mum drags my whole family foraging around here! grin

Depending on the season, we get blackberries, elderflowers, elderberriew, sloes, figs, hazelnuts, walnuts, chestnuts, mushrooms...

Overmydeadbody Mon 01-Jun-09 13:30:07

rosehips too

OrmIrian Mon 01-Jun-09 13:30:53

Not these day - well not often, but when I wasa child mum used to take us out picking all kinds of things. Elderflowers and berries, rosehips, blackberries, hazelnuts, nettles for dye, mushrooms, sheep shit hmm for making into liquid manure (lovely!),seaweed for the same reason, wood for the fire. Anything and everything really.

My Dads mum referred to it as scrounging grin

Hopefully Mon 01-Jun-09 13:42:34

So I have been missing out on something that all normal families secretly do?! I am going to phone my mother and demand an explanation. She lives in the country and everything dammit!

I am quite unreasonably excited about the autumn and seeing what we can get. Was checking location of dog roses, chestnut and hazelnut trees and blackberry bushes while I walked today.

Glad I don't like mushrooms though - no danger of accidentally picking hallucinogenic (sp?) or lethal ones!

So, while you're here, how long will elderflower cordial last? I've found a recipe with loads of sugar and lemon and it says it will last a year, but I'm unconvinced. I've heard lots of stories of it being more than a little bit potent by christmas...

Galava Mon 01-Jun-09 13:45:36

Bilberries, blackberries and strawberries.

Have done a bit of mushroom collecting too in the past, but probably threw more away just in case.

I quite fancy the elderflower cordial though ... is your receipe easy ?

claraquack Mon 01-Jun-09 13:45:54

Yes, it's amazing how many blackberries are left on bushes these days, not like in my youth when they'd normally all gone by mid-August....

My Dh also likes the odd fuggle too.

claraquack Mon 01-Jun-09 13:46:39

Oh yes, Sloes too in season - lovely Sloe gin.

Rubyrubyruby Mon 01-Jun-09 13:49:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ohdearwhatamess Mon 01-Jun-09 13:53:37

Yes. Elderberries, elderflowers, sloes, blackberries, loganberries, cherries, broad beans.

Hopefully Mon 01-Jun-09 15:10:31

recipe very easy - I used this one

Fibonacci Sat 06-Jun-09 11:45:47

Blackberries

Sloes

Wild garlic

Elderflower

meltedmarsbars Sat 06-Jun-09 11:58:42

Freeze elderflower cordial in little water bottles and it will last indefinately without fermenting.

ODWAM - loganberries aren't indigenous? they're a cross between rasps and brambles, are they not?

dylsmum1998 Sat 06-Jun-09 21:56:34

what books are you using? can you recomend any, i love the idea of this but the only wild plant i recognise is blackberries!

SkaterGrrrrl Thu 17-Sep-09 17:34:25

I live in a city so not many chances to forage...

I have booked a mushroom foraging course for my foodie / mushroom-loving DH for his birthday though!

Its in the New Forest with www.wildmushrooms.co.uk

Chaotica Thu 17-Sep-09 17:45:10

Skatergrrrl - I used to see people foraging off the Old Kent Road when I lived in London (in Burgess park). There were plenty of things to get if you knew what you were looking for (North London is also not bad).

Now I don't live in a city, we get apples, cherries, plums, blackberries and chestnuts (no bilberries where we are). I could do better...

Callisto Thu 17-Sep-09 21:13:31

I've made rosehip syrup this week (seriously scrummy) and I've 'made' wild plum vodka and damson gin which should be ready at Christmas. DP has made elderberry and crabapple jelly too. I've got Food For Free and Grow Your Own Drugs which are both great (and James Wong is soooo pretty).

Takver Fri 18-Sep-09 10:06:26

We used to 'forage' in the city (south London) when I was a kid - generally involved my uncle chucking a bunch of us over a wall into the garden of any empty boarded up big houses with interesting fruit trees grin. I see his point - if the house is standing empty, and the fruit is sat on the ground, why let it go to waste. We also used to pick blackberries, damsons etc off bits of waste ground and along the edge of the railway.

Prunerz Fri 18-Sep-09 10:10:09

I don't think everyone does it - I suggested to someone that they collect elderberries the other day and they gave me A Look that told me they thought I was a loon.

I once went out with a mushroom expert and he identified 200 different types of fungus. We collected enough edible stuff to make a totally delicious meal for four people. (I wouldn't be confident enough to do that on my own, though.)

Thredworm Fri 18-Sep-09 10:17:11

DS2 is a forager. At the moment he is working on a 'natural wash kit'. Moss for a sponge; horse chesnut leaves for soap (hmm). he is trying to use willow bark for 'cordage' and also dye. Lots of other things too. I blame Ray Mears entirely.

We do the standard stuff -- blackberries, a few nuts, may be elderberries this year.

Blackberries are the only real goer though, fo me.

Prunerz Fri 18-Sep-09 10:32:01

I've used garden plants for dye. It's great fun.

Thready is there a Ray Mears book for children, or something, or did your ds2 get all info from his programmes?

Thredworm Fri 18-Sep-09 10:36:13

There are several RM books. The one with willow cordage, wash kit, etc, is I think called 'Outdoor Survival Book'. DS2 is 10, though, and I don't know of a book that is geared to children specifically. There must be something out there.

The RM books are v good though. DS2 re-reads them endlessly.

QuintessentialShadows Fri 18-Sep-09 10:36:32

Yup. Blueberries, mushrooms, lingonberries, rasberries.

My parents have redcurrants and blackcurrants and strawberries in their garden.

I am planting rasberries, redcurrants and strawberries in mind.

In fact, I am ordering a new freezer, so I can store a whole years worth of blueberry, strawberry and redcurrant jams and desserts. We wont need to buy any of it.

We have spent quite a lot of time on it, this automn, though.

Prunerz Fri 18-Sep-09 10:37:42

Thanks Threadworm - it sounds like the business

Thredworm Fri 18-Sep-09 10:40:14

(Horse chesnut leaves do a lot more to make your bath dirty than to make your child clean, btw.)

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