Gransnet forums


Do you forage- and if yes, what ?

(69 Posts)
Kali2 Wed 13-Oct-21 16:10:07

I grew up in a foraging family - we were always out in the woods collecting stuff. Wild mushrooms, berries of all sorts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts and all sorts, medicinal herbs too. As a teenager, I hate it - but as an adult I returned to it and all the knowledge I had acquired. In the 70s, foraging helped us cope when there was little money- Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common were my favourites. And later in the Staffs and Leics- I continued to roam the land and gather food- although species were often quite different to what I was used to. No-one was interested in fungi in those days- so it was just me and a few elderly Polish gentlemen out there getting those blewitts, bluelegs and parasols, or shaggy inkcaps.

Jaxjacky Wed 13-Oct-21 19:44:56

Wild garlic, blackberries, sloes and sweet chestnuts, muse I freeze the sloes for about a week, it bursts them, gone are the pricking days. Sloe vodka, I don’t like gin.

Ro60 Wed 13-Oct-21 23:56:31

I knew of a walnut in tree - in a local park! - and another along a disused railway track before I moved. Chestnuts in a local wood, damsons, raspberries.
Now a new world to discover - so far bullace, a new one to me - had to look them up last year but yet to use them.
My local walk produces the odd fig, fennel, a few cockles, samphire, sloes, blackberries.

grannyactivist Thu 14-Oct-21 02:49:02

I grow so much in my garden and on the allotment that I don’t really need (or have the time) to forage, but I do collect sloes every year - and last year they were exceptional. (Never prick them any more, just pop them in the freezer until Ikm ready to steep them.)

Where I live wild garlic grows everywhere, so that’s easily come by, and we do have a community orchard where all sorts of wonderful fruits can be collected for free. I had a mulberry planted in a local park last year (a memorial tree) and I’m really hoping that I shall see some fruit on it in a few years time.

Living by the sea I’ve had fresh mackerel for dinner for the past two nights. 🎣 Thanks to Mr.GA’s success with a spinner, a line, and a lemonade bottle (he caught 8 altogether).

Redhead56 Thu 14-Oct-21 08:53:20

Wild garlic plums raspberries apples blackberries sloes and cobnuts all in the woods where I live.

Shelbel Thu 14-Oct-21 08:56:49

Only sloes, there are an amazing amount of sloe bushes near the beach here. No one bothers with them but us. Years ago we used to pick field mushrooms regularly and blackberries.

Jess20 Thu 14-Oct-21 10:55:47

Yes, but above the level dogs and people might pee on them! Currently making sloe gin but nothing much else foraged since I have recently moved somewhere with a garden which is full of fruit trees and I can hardly keep up!

kentmaid Thu 14-Oct-21 11:23:10


Whilst walking the dog I found loads of bullaces growing in a hedge. I’m going to mix them with Rowan berries to make Rowan jelly. I’ve also got rosehip syrup on the go having found them on another walk. Next I’m after sloes to make sloe gin. Might also do bullace vodka. I sometimes find nuts.

One year I made elderberry port ice cream. It was horrible. I do make elderflower sorbet and cordial which I keep in the freezer. I just love picking things for free.

Bullaces - wonderful. They make the tastiest jam.

I found them by chance when we bought a smallholding in Norfolk - growing in the hedgerow.

Moved away and haven’t seen them anywhere else.
Also tried making wine but not as successful.

4allweknow Thu 14-Oct-21 11:27:36

Used to many many years ago and still pick wild garlic from the local woods. Just a bit reluctant to collect berries due to all the pollution from vehicles. Why do so many blackberries grow at roadsides whether in town or countryside?

Theoddbird Thu 14-Oct-21 11:34:23 them

Baggs Thu 14-Oct-21 11:56:44

Chanterelles and ceps mainly, just up the hill from our house. We have bullace trees in the garden. They are old and massive so most of the fruit isn't reachable. I made some jam this year though with what I could reach.

luluaugust Thu 14-Oct-21 11:57:32

We used to gather Blackberries, Samphire and Apples from an abandoned orchard. I notice now the local village has an organised picking session.

BazingaGranny Thu 14-Oct-21 13:08:30

Sorry to be a ‘party pooper’ but when one person forages it’s fine but when it is dozens or hundreds of people there is nothing left for the birds, mammals or insects. Some people, including some close friends, are so VERY greedy when they take so much. Areas like the New Forest and Epping Forest have been denuded. And people making a living from foraging mushrooms etc to sell to trendy restaurants really don’t think of our wildlife or future generations at all. And how much is picked and then left abandoned in bags and just thrown away, not even composted?

ranorman45 Thu 14-Oct-21 13:28:02

Lots of Hen in the woods fungi this year but not really sure of the best way to use them!

Namsnanny Thu 14-Oct-21 13:44:04

13.08 BazingaGranny good point.
My list is meadow sweet, hedgerow or field herbs. Elderflower, BlackBerry, rosehip, sloe, nettles.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 14-Oct-21 13:44:25

I too gather elderflowers, elderberries, rowans, crab apples, damsons, mirabelle plums, blackberries and camomile flowers.

Also pine cones either for kindling or for making Christmas decorations, honesty if it isn't in someone's garden, lupin and sweet pea pods if they likewise are not on private property, acorn cups (doll's house bowls) twigs and branches for trees in nativity scenes etc.etc.

Ginpin Thu 14-Oct-21 14:01:31

Yep ! Blackberries, Rosehips, Apples, Damsons, Sweet Chesnuts, Sloes, Haw berries, and Elderberries and flowers. Loved foraging with my daughters and now my grandchildren .

Also love helping to stop food waste by collecting Olio products ! smile

Josianne Thu 14-Oct-21 14:05:36

I think BazingaGranny makes a good point. Sometimes because something is free, people get greedy.
We have a community orchard here and overnight all the trees were stripped of apples. Not just a few for making a crumble or for apple bobbing, the whole lot. The rumour is it wasn't teenagers either, but people taking the crop to sell. Very mean.

Namsnanny Thu 14-Oct-21 14:15:49

That is very mean of some people Josieanne

GagaJo Thu 14-Oct-21 14:18:12

Ooooo Ginpin, what do you do with rosehips? There is a FANTASTIC huge area of rosehips near me but when I thought about picking some a few years ago, all the advice I could find about using them was very pessimistic about being able to filter out all the tiny, incredibly irritant (to the body) hairs out.

Applegran Thu 14-Oct-21 14:20:50

I recently read this advice - which made me laugh! And makes a good point too.
If you go out looking for field mushrooms, always save one to take to the hospital............
I don't know enough to collect and eat wild fungi - but great for those who do.

SusieB50 Thu 14-Oct-21 14:32:46

I live near Epping forest and there are massive problems with people taking all the mushrooms to sell, not even for their own use . It’s in fact illegal to take anything from the forest . I forage next doors beautiful cooking apples with an apple picker on a pole does that count ? They leave them to fall and rot . We have an avenue of sweet chestnuts in a local park . No-one touched them for years but now they are stripped the moment they appear . I mentioned to one man with two bags full , that the squirrels like them too and got a mouthful of abuse 😡

WoodLane7 Thu 14-Oct-21 15:01:06

We love to go out picking blackberries, apples, plums, pears and raspberries; always picked blackberries but only got into other fruits latterly when we started doing more walking by the canals during lockdown and realised the range of other stuff on offer, especially apples - all kinds of varieties (we found out there is a dilapidated orchard near to us so a fair few apple trees there and then discovered another about 3 miles away which has pears and plums as well as apples). We give some to neighbours too so they are happy as well as us

Namsnanny Thu 14-Oct-21 15:30:10


Ooooo Ginpin, what do you do with rosehips? There is a FANTASTIC huge area of rosehips near me but when I thought about picking some a few years ago, all the advice I could find about using them was very pessimistic about being able to filter out all the tiny, incredibly irritant (to the body) hairs out.

I make a tea, then mix honey with it and use as a cold remedy.
The hairs dont seem to come off if tea is made with freshly picked hips.
I have never used dried.

Oofy Thu 14-Oct-21 15:36:21

Surprised to hear that raspberries and black currants are to be found in the wild in some places, only blackberries and sloes around here. Made sloe gin last year but haven’t drunk it, so haven’t bothered this year. The gin makes it an expensive business!
I went on a course to learn seaweed foraging, so did that in the summer, great fun. A bit cold now though. Also samphire. Also people now gathering seaweed for commercial gain, concerns about over-exploitation.
Not confident enough to pick mushrooms, sadly. Old friends, originally from Italy, used to go gathering penny buns, ceps I think, which you can buy dried to soak and use, but I could never get the hang of identifying them properly, so never tried it unless with them. They could never understand why nobody did this in UK. And friends in Germany take foraged mushrooms to the local pharmacy, who will tell them if safe to eat

25Avalon Thu 14-Oct-21 15:46:19


Ooooo Ginpin, what do you do with rosehips? There is a FANTASTIC huge area of rosehips near me but when I thought about picking some a few years ago, all the advice I could find about using them was very pessimistic about being able to filter out all the tiny, incredibly irritant (to the body) hairs out.

Make rose hip syrup. It’s lovely instead of sugar on porridge, great to sip a spoonful if you have a sore throat, and full of vitamin C.

Rose Hip Syrup
You need about 400 rose hips (700g). Snip the calyx off each and put in a pan. Just cover with water and simmer for 20 mins until soft. Strain into a bowl through a fine sieve. Return pulp to pan, add same amount of water and repeat for a second and third extraction. Strain all fruit through muslin in the sieve. Measure liquid into clean pan and add 600g sugar. Simmer 20-25 mins until frothy, removing froth with large metal spoon. Pour into sterilised bottles and seal when cold. Use as a drink diluted with water, or on top of pancakes, or with yoghourt or ice cream.