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Gardening

Wild foraging ?

(20 Posts)
jura2 Thu 22-Aug-19 13:24:03

Surprised to find there is no official forum space for nature, wild fauna and flora. So here is goes.

I grew up in the Jura mountains, straddling France and Switzerland - and was taught by my dad about so much to do with nature. But our best times together were always foraging for wild mushrooms in late Summer and Autumn- my very favourite season.

Today he would have been 106 - he died, fit as a fiddle but of a broken heart, 10 years ago, just a few months after mum who had been ill and unwell for a long time.

So this sunny, bright day- I'll had to our favourite stop up the mountain in France- and have a good foray. Perhaps too early, but it does not matter. I shall hear his voice telling me- look around that tree, it's a good one- no need to go over there, it's rubbish, and so on. And then calling me with a massive smile if he'd found a 'treasure' - or coming running to me, if I'd found something.

But that is by the by- any wild mushroom foragers on GN?

tanith Thu 22-Aug-19 13:35:14

Apples and Blackberries for me no mushrooms in this neck of the woods.

silverlining48 Thu 22-Aug-19 13:54:03

Just blackberries, which I recognise. Mushrooms too risky as I have no clue which are ok and which not.
It’s lovely you have such happy memories of your dad Jura. Enjoy your day. It’s beautiful here too.

Farmor15 Thu 22-Aug-19 14:19:54

Yes- pick ordinary field mushrooms when I can find them, but I now know some other edible types. Just this morning I found some giant puffballs in a wild area of garden and we had them for breakfast 😀. I have 2 sons who are much into foraging too. It’s lovely to eat some wild food.

dragonfly46 Thu 22-Aug-19 14:25:00

I pick sloes and blackberries - they are prolific near us. As a girl I used to go to the woods with my uncle and pick bilberries and mushrooms. The uni in our town has maps of foraging walks around the grounds - apricots, apples etc.

Namsnanny Thu 22-Aug-19 14:33:46

Lovely post about your father jura 😊

My fil used to go mushroom hunting, but I never went with him. Now of course I would love to.
He was a socially awkward man who took a shine to me. He was profoundly deaf, and I think most of his family had grown tired of trying to have any meaningful conversation with him. It was a case of keep talking to the bare essentials.
But he was so good with animals and had a huge knowledge of wild life and plants. Maybe he was more observant because of his lack of hearing.
We often had ‘in’ jokes as he had a good sense of humour!
Miss him, especially this time of the year.
Blackberry picking is the most I do, well I almost forgot, I pick dandelion leaves in the spring and elderflowers in early summer-do they count?!

Greytin94 Thu 22-Aug-19 14:34:11

It’s blackberries and wimberries for me. I have fond memories of wimberry picking with my grandparents, so can relate to your lovely memories of your father. Enjoy your day, your Dad will be with you in spirit.

silverlining48 Thu 22-Aug-19 18:36:57

When staying north of the dordogne a couple of years ago we were recommended a restaurant deep in the forest where everything was foraged. Even the flour for bread had been ground onsite.
We had a really different 6 or 7 course meal including drinks. 25 euros . It was an interesting experience but as it grew dark we were A bit concerned about finding our way out of the forest ..it took a while but we managed, eventually. One to remember.

Septimia Thu 22-Aug-19 18:44:13

DH collects all the blackberries he can find. In the past we've collected crabapples (for crabapple jelly), sloes (for gin!), cloudberries (in Scandinavia, although in some places only locals can pick them, I think), wild rhubarb in Orkney, rosehips and elderberries; and, in the days when we had a field, we sometimes picked field mushrooms.

Obviously the birds and other wildlife eat some of them, but a lot goes to waste, so why not enjoy them?

nonnasusie Thu 22-Aug-19 20:43:26

D.H found a few mushrooms today on our land. He only picks them from around certain trees! We also collect blackberries, wild chicory and in the spring wild asparagus.

M0nica Thu 22-Aug-19 20:54:11

I forage for blackberries, and sloes, Christmas is not complete without at least one bottle of sloe gin. In recent years I have found some wild greengage trees, but their crop is very chancey and there seem to be none this year.

Our holiday home is in Normandy and there I forage for mistletoe to bring home for Christmas. One of our apple trees now has mistletoe on it, so I suppose that will now qualify as a crop rather than foraging.

rosecarmel Thu 22-Aug-19 22:58:09

My grandfather foraged but never taught us to- He would pickle his mushrooms in mason jars- They were amazing- He was, too-

He also foraged dandelion for salad, watercress for soup and cardoon for breading and sautéing in olive oil-

rosecarmel Thu 22-Aug-19 23:00:41

I foraged for mistletoe in the southern states-

MaizieD Fri 23-Aug-19 10:43:35

Blackberries, of course. We used to go on great blackberry picking expeditions with my mum and granny, resulting in lots of bramble jelly...

Sloes. Our (shared) holiday home in Normandy has lots of blackthorn bushes which drip with sloes every year. I have blackthorns in my own field boundaries here in the UK but they're usually not so generous! However, this year I have some which are rivalling the French ones so homegrown (as opposed to French) sloe gin is on the cards.

Our fields produce mushrooms but sadly I had what felt like a near death experience from eating wild mushrooms a few years ago so I give them away. We also have some spectacularly huge giant puffballs but I don't dare try them. Give them away too, if I can find a taker.

We've a few wild crab apple trees which are prolific but there's a limit to how much crab apple jelly one can make. Nobody seems to want them, even the horses turn their noses up at them. It seems like such a waste..

MaizieD Fri 23-Aug-19 10:45:44

P.S MOnica, the only mistletoe I've seen in Normandy is usually at the top of 30 ft high trees! Otherwise I'd've brought some home and had a stab at growing it.

Namsnanny Mon 26-Aug-19 19:39:18

We're lucky here for mistletoe. loads of trees have it and loads of farmers don't mind us collecting it!

M0nica Mon 26-Aug-19 19:56:10

Our mistletoe is about 5 foot up a 30 year old apple tree. It arrived last year and has really bulked up this year.

petra Mon 26-Aug-19 20:15:14

All the above plus oysters ( they aren't from private beds) and samphire and seaweed ( for the garden)

jura2 Tue 27-Aug-19 15:37:25

thanks all - was out again yesterday, too dry, so there was very little, A couple of ceps/bolets (porcini) and lots of young Millers- just had an omlet. Just realised, dad would have been 107, not 106.

Off to Tuscany on FRiday- so will pick sloes for sloe gin when we get back- always wait until the first couple of frosts.

When we lived in London, I used to forage for wild mushrooms in Richmond Park- then would go and chat and show my findings to the old veteran Chelsea Pensioners who sat on the benches- near the Star and Garter home (now very posh private apartments) - they invited me for tea from time to time.

In the Midlands, I discovered bluelegs- never found any as a child, and blewitts and parasols, that I knew well. It was always me and the old Polish men. Discovered samphire on our many visits to Norfolk - and would love to impress Swiss visitors with our favourite, samphire and garlic pasta.

Specky Tue 27-Aug-19 16:25:45

Im feeling inspired! Definitely going to look for a foraging course, thank you Jura... I love the idea of picking from nature but my lack of knowledge beyond the usual mushrooms, blackberry etc means that I'd probably poison Mr Specky or end up frolicking with the fairies after my intake of some magical fungi confused