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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.

CBBL Thu 14-Oct-21 16:25:01

I'd love to forage, but I think the only thing near me is likely to be seaweed!

I live in the North of Scotland, tree are few (apart from Forestry land - which has prohibited access), and I've not seen any fruit trees of any kind. I can't even garden here - I'm maybe 1000 yards from the sea, and the winds are fierce. I brought lots of plants with me, but not many survived the latter part of the winter (we arrived here at the beginning of February). I haven't seen even Brambles, as yet!

stewaris Thu 14-Oct-21 18:06:52

Much the same as everyone else - crab apples, brambles, wild garlic, sloes. I tried an elderberry and apple pie once and it was pretty disgusting so leave them alone. I would love to go foraging for mushrooms but have no knowledge of them. DH bought me a book for Christmas one year. We both read it and thought better of it. Would love to learn properly but too much of a risk after reading the book. Angel of Death was scary!

0wlfred Thu 14-Oct-21 18:19:39

My grandfather regularly used to gather nettles on Wimbledon Common (wearing very stout leather gloves) and even as a child I liked them! It's said they taste rather like spinach though the texture is very different.

Redhead56 Thu 14-Oct-21 18:38:29

25Avalon I am going to try the rose hip syrup recipe. I usually pass them by and don’t pick them I will now Thanks.

dogsmother Thu 14-Oct-21 18:49:55

Grew up blackberrying, mushrooming and on the beach winklepicking, limpeting and various other rock pool treats.

Lilyflower Thu 14-Oct-21 20:20:41

If you are after blackberries it is only called foraging if you are head to toe in Boden, Seasalt or Joules and carry a Sussex trug over your arm. Otherwise you are blackberry picking with the hot polloi.

M0nica Thu 14-Oct-21 20:33:26

I call gathering anything from grass verges and hedgerows 'picking'. This year I have picked blackberries, sloes and damsons.

I confess to, once, buying a coat from Boden but it was a long time ago and it pilled badly and I have bought nothing from them since.

Kali2 Thu 14-Oct-21 20:42:37


If you are after blackberries it is only called foraging if you are head to toe in Boden, Seasalt or Joules and carry a Sussex trug over your arm. Otherwise you are blackberry picking with the hot polloi.

lol, nope- I have been foraging way way before any of the above existed for sure ahaha.

Today I had old trainers on, black trackie bottoms and a stripey jumper, my dad's 50 year old wicker basked - and Swiss Army knife, the real thing, not from the airport, 1940s...

Kali2 Thu 14-Oct-21 20:47:58

Today I found some ceps/penny buns, Millers, and some very rare ans scary looking, but delicious wax caps- bright yellow and orange! And lots of juniper berries- I spotted them the other day so took cloves and secateurs. Will pick the when the branches have dried a bit (very spiky!) and dry them some more to use to put in gin bottle for extra flavour, and other meat dishes.

Callistemon Thu 14-Oct-21 21:01:21


If you are after blackberries it is only called foraging if you are head to toe in Boden, Seasalt or Joules and carry a Sussex trug over your arm. Otherwise you are blackberry picking with the hot polloi.

I have a Joules mac which leaks and a wicker basket which DD used for HE at school. Will they do?
No Hunter wellies, though, mine are green Dunlop.

Just watching the Hairy Bikers foraging in the woods with an expert.
As Si said when they were foraging mushrooms "You only get it wrong once".....

Yes, we've foraged fruits and some seafood and I've just realised that the weeds I hauled out of the garden at the weekend are a good flavouring similar to cloves! Wood Avens apparently.
And we have lots of Alpine strawberries in the garden but they never produce much.

I've always called it picking too but have never found damsons in the wild unfortunately.

Kali2 Thu 14-Oct-21 21:12:57

I remember Joules when it was one tiny shop in her dad's backyard! He sold minor antiques and old tools, garden implements with a Cafe (no 'é' - it was pretty rough) - and sold basic meals- but Sunday lunches were fun, always with a band playing. Great fun.

Anyhow, I am chubby with 2 new knees, one still dodgy due to very old injury- and the fields are separated by 2 rows of electricfied fencing, or 1 electric and 1 barbed- so I have to drop to the floor, roll under like a Viet Veteran and somehow get back to my feet, with my bum in the air - not a sight for the fainthearted- but as I am in the middle of nowhere - ah well, who cares. Today I had much younger guests, but they were very friendly and gracious, and laughed with me, rather than at ....

Deedaa Thu 14-Oct-21 21:14:37

Well I've got a Joules top and a Sea Salt top but they are charity shop buys so perhaps they don't count.

When we lived in Cornwall the field opposite us produced beautiful giant puff balls. Sliced up they fry like a lovely omelette

Ro60 Fri 15-Oct-21 00:44:22

Namsnanny How do you.use Meadowsweet? I've always loved that plant - smells good enough to eat.

Loving this thread for so many reasons. The origins of Joules - amazing! Wish I'd been there.I

I remember picking Lavabread (Welsh seaweed) as a child - but the rinsing to get the sand out! 😱

nanna8 Fri 15-Oct-21 02:26:40

I’m scared of the mushrooms here because there is one that looks exactly like a normal one but is actually deadly. I think the only difference is that it lets out slight yellow sap when cut but not always noticeable. I would love to know about bush tucker but I have never learnt. Nearest I get to wild things in the garden are nasturtium leaves and flowers in salads.

fiorentina51 Fri 15-Oct-21 08:36:38

My mum used to take me into the forest to collect fungi. She was a farmers daughter and Italian so was confident when foraging. I'm afraid I enjoyed eating them but never paid much attention to what they looked like, or the best places to find them.
I've picked the usual stuff like wild garlic and blackberries etc. and was introduced to some other interesting fruits when volunteering with the forestry commission when I first retired.

I never realised that fuschia berries were edible. They are delicious and taste a bit like cherries.
Sorrel leaves have a nice peppery tang with a sort of citrus after taste.
My favourite discovery was the fruit of the wild service tree. They are sweet and have the texture and taste of dates. They need to be very ripe/slightly over ripe to be at their best.
Some people freeze them first to start decomposition.
A century ago you could buy them in the shops apparently.

GagaJo Fri 15-Oct-21 08:53:55

Found some sloes, which I have been looking for since I moved up North. Already picked over so not many but might go back with a stick and some gauntlets so I can get deeper in the bushes to get more.

Sloe sherry is incredible! I've only made it once but drunk the whole lot myself, rather than giving it as gifts. Use sweet sherry then you don't need to add any sugar.

Grammaretto Fri 15-Oct-21 09:15:58

I bet you've been surprised by the great response Kali!
so many foraging grans out and about.

My Swedish neighbour used to follow an old Polish man during the mushroom season and watch carefully. He knew what he was doing.

On a walk to the pier near Leith recently with DS he told me it was the Eastern Europeans who were line fishing. He asked one what he'd caught and if he was selling them to a restaurant. "No, they're pollock and mackerel for my tea" came the reply from the Leither .

I was sad to find that East Lothian council cut back the seabuckthorn each year and don't use it. It grows prolifically all along that coast.
However, on googling I find an enterprise has started

25Avalon Fri 15-Oct-21 10:12:25

Gagajo how do you make sloe Sherry please?