My favourite plants and berries to forage in Autumn, and a few recipes too!
Living in Cornwall by the sea and countryside, and having a green-thumbed mother who studied plants (botany) at University, has meant that going out to find food in the wild has been grown into me from a young age. She used to send us out into the garden to find the wild herb she was after, or down the woods to pick punnets of blackberries for her to make into crumbles when we returned home.
As I’ve grown older I’ve tried to learn as much as I can about wild foods and foraging; I’ve been on a couple of foraging workshops and have several books to help me identify the plants I find too (recommended list below*!), however I usually still end up double checking with my mum just to make sure I don’t eat the wrong thing by accident!
There are, however, 3 wild foods I am very confident on foraging and harvesting myself! These all happen to be out and about in September, and I’d encourage you to get outdoors into the countryside to find yourself some of these…
Everyone knows that September is the best time for getting out and picking blackberries! It’s probably one of the most commonly foraged foods, and for me it’s a tradition every year to head out with pots and buckets to collect as many as we can. Blackberries are a great source of vitamin C and are high in fibre, yet are one of the lowest sugar fruits along with strawberries, making them great for low sugar/carb diets.
Yes, I’m talking about stinging nettles! Don’t worry, when you cook, boil or blitz the nettles in a blender or food processor, their sting is neutralised and you won’t feel a thing. They are in fact just as nutritiously dense as spinach… but they’re free! High in vitamins A, C and K, potassium, iron and calcium, you can basically use nettles to replace spinach wherever you’d use it. For example, I like to add them into smoothies, but below are some other ways you can use them too.
TIP: Take a pair of gardening/washing up gloves and a pair of scissors with you when you go foraging, and a plastic bag to put the clippings in.
Sloe berries are also full of vitamin C and fibre, but we usually don’t collect them to eat for health benefits… this fruit from blackthorn trees is best when completely soaked in gin! They are very tart, so not something you’d want to eat raw on a cheesecake, for example, but they can be used in other ways too. I’m currently brewing some sloe gin using this month’s sloes, ready for next year, but below are some more of my favourite recipes too…
What are your favourite foraged food recipes for Autumn?
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