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.
Come the Spring, wild garlic (Ramsons) can be found amongst damp, shaded ground, 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.
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.
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