Sunday, 11 October 2015

Self Sufficient - wild food foraging

It was a lovely day to day so we decided to go for a walk and forage some wild autumn fruit. We headed down to the canal I always like to come hear at this time of year as there is always loads of fruit to be foraged. Learning to forage in the wild for food is an essential part of living a self sufficient lifestyle as once you know what you are looking for. There is almost a unlimited supply of food out there just waiting t be picked and of cause it's all free just the time it takes to pick it. But best of all you can get to be out in the countryside for a walk with the family.
Blackberry's are always the first one that most folk go for and I must admit that there juicy black shiny fruits are hard to resist. We always do bring back lots of them as they are such a good fruit as they make such good pies, jelly's and puddings. They are also great for freezing so you can make use of them all year round just wash them clean let them dry and pop them on a tray in the freezer them bag up once frozen. But there are so many other delights to be had out of the hedge rows at this time of the year.
Elderberry's everyone is keen on Elder flower and there is always a rush to get the best flowers in there short season in June. But the berry's tend to be ignored and left to the birds but they are just as versatile as blackberry's in the kitchen I don't know why they are not as popular.
Rose hips are hardly picked these days but during the war they where picked by the sack load to turn into rose hip syrup. Which is high in vitamin C and was used to make up for the lack of fresh fruit as we have plentiful supply's of fresh fruit the need for the rose hip syrup had diminished.
Hawthorn berry's again are not that popular and I can understand why they are fiddly little things to pick that is without having to navigate all the thorns. Plus you do need an awful lot of them to get a kilo but they do make great haw jelly so they are worth the time.
Slows every gin drinker will know these slow gin is a traditional British winter drink they are a bit like a small plum. They are easy to spot with there shiny purple fruit about the size of a grape so I feel a good batch of slow gin is going to be made this week for Christmas.  
We did manage to get a few Hazel nuts the squirrels always seem to get most of the good ones first so they where gone by the time we had got back to the car.
But even if you don't find anything to pick it is always good to go out for a nice walk on a nice sunny autumn day.
Just bare in mind if you have never been foraging before and are not sure what to pick get your self a good book to help you know what you are picking. Or go on a organised foraging course there are lots of them going on around county all the time so there will be one near you. But the best rule is if you are not sure what it is do not pick and certainly do not eat.
Happy Foraging

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