By: Blonde Two
Down here on the English Riviera the traditional autumn forage season has been well on its way since early September. Earlier than usual? Maybe but perhaps we all had a bit more time to look this year. Wherever you live autumn has to be one of the easiest time of the year to go on a foraging walk. Unless you’re an expert (I am still looking for a fungus tutor) I wouldn’t recommend fungi foraging but most of us know what a blackberry looks like and sloes, hawthorn berries and rose hips are all easy to spot and great for flavoured Christmas gins.
Foraging however isn’t without its pitfalls so here are my top tips for happy autumn foraging in the UK.
Autumn foraging tips
- Always carry a bag. Whilst foraging with an beautiful basket is definitely good for the soul (and Instagram), by carrying a cloth bag whenever you go out for a walk, you will be prepared to snap up nature’s bounty wherever you find it.
- Look up. A foraging walk isn’t just about picking the fruit you see now. Trees and bushes love layers, and often grow intertwined with each other. Learn more about the trees around you and you will set yourself for greater future foraging potential.
- Look down. Sadly this tip isn’t just about finding clues at floor level, although this is important. You’ll need to step off the path for most foraging. Unless you want to come home with dog mess on your shoes, I recommend taking care over where you place your feet.
- Go there and back again. Nature is good at hiding her bounty. By taking the same path twice but in different directions, you maximise your chances of coming home with some goodies.
- Be generous not greedy. This is easier if you plan what you want to do with your harvest before you pick. For example one blackberry crumble needs far fewer berries than six jars of blackberry jelly. By taking only what you need, you will ensure the next person gets a share and the birds stay fed.
I can recommend autumn foraging walks for so many reasons. They tend to be gentle strolls, give youngsters a reason to be out and encourage more chatter than strenuous walks. The other reason of course is the satisfaction you get from making your own muffins, jams, pickles, drinks, syrups, jellies, fruit leathers, pies, crumbles, muffins, cakes, breads… the list is endless and the foraging recipes are all out there!
Yesterday evening I went out after work for blackberries, came home, made them into muffins, ate them with homemade yoghurt. Now that did feel good… I would share a photo if there were any left!!