You don’t have to be an expert to forage for free food, you’ll probably be amazed at just what you can find on your own doorstep if you look hard enough. Here are a few tips on what to look for for & some easy foraging recipes.
Perhaps the one we’re most familiar with here in the UK, I’m willing to be most of picked these from childhood. From August to October, blackberries grow in abundance in hedgerows & brambles in gardens, woodland & roadsides. Always look for deep, purple-black berries & give them a quick check for any maggots that may be lurking. Top tip is to soak your blackberries in a a big bowl of water with a good pinch of salt to get rid of any nasties
Elderflower & Elderberry
Summer starts when the elder trees (Sambucus nigra) burst into flower & ends in late August when it’s elderberries are ripe.
From late May to early July, the delicate, fragrant bursting heads of little white flowers can be found growing on elder tree along roadsides, in gardens, hedgerows & parks. They look similar to cowslip but have a musky, sweet perfume. When picking elderflowers, always cut or snap the flower head off right at it’s base, with as little stalk as possible. You should handle he flowers carefully, keeping them upright when picking & keeping them out of the sun, in a cool place to prevent them from wilting.
Always leave plenty of flowers on the tree when foraging them as come the autumn, these will transform into an abundance of purple-black elderberries.
Lilacs can be found in bloom from late spring to early summer (usually in the months of May or June) & can be found in woodland, in hedges & along roadsides.
Lilac shrubs have deep green, heart-shaped leaves with an almost velvet like sheen & smooth bark. It produces clusters of densely packed, small flowers that are highly fragrant. The individual flowers have a four petalled, trumpet-like shape. The flower colours usually range from pink to deep purple but some can even be white.
The flowers are edible & can be used to make a range of sweet, fragrant goods.
Love them or loathe them, throughout spring & summer it’s almost impossible to escape the stinging nettles.
Yes, they’re a weed & obviously pack a nasty sting but they’re also entirely edible & actually one of the most nutritious things you can forage for here in the UK.
Find it growing everywhere from gardens, hedgerows, fields & woodlands. It loves damp, fertile & disturbed ground like fields, garden or allotments.
Come the Spring, wild garlic (Ramsons) can be found amongst damp, shaded ground, particularly in that found in woodlands. You’ll often smell it before you see it, particularly on a warm day. Look for long, bold, pointed green leaves with the odd cluster of little white star-shaped flowers (which are also edible). If you’re unsure, pick a leaf, hold it to your nose & you’ll soon be met with a very garlicky scent if it is indeed wild garlic.
Spring Greens Tart
Wild Garlic Bread
Wild Garlic Butter
Wild Garlic & Cheese Pasties
Wild Garlic & Chive Scones
Wild Garlic Ciabatta
Wild Garlic Focaccia
Wild Garlic Mayonnaise
Wild Garlic & Parmesan Bites
Wild Garlic Pesto