Foraging has seen a boom in recent years, with articles and social media flooded with pictures of smiley, sunny faces clutching their latest gathering of greens. But what is it? And how do you get started? Forage for flavours with our guide...

Copyright @ Shutterstock

What is Foraging?

Simply put, foraging is the act of gathering food that is found in the wild. Specifically, foraging applies to plant life. 

Foraging has been increasing in recent years. Gathering wild food is a way of slowing down, looking around, connecting with your surroundings and disconnecting from busy everyday life. As well as creating a connection with nature, it reminds us of our history; foraging is how our ancestors hundreds and thousands of years ago would have gathered food.

What Do I Need to Forage?

There is simplicity in foraging. All you need is somewhere to put your findings, such as a tupperware, basket or bag. However, it is best to carry scissors and gloves with you, especially if foraging hardier plants like nettles. 

Can I Eat What I Forage?

Yes! That’s the joy of foraging! Going into nature and gathering your own food. 

However, if you are just beginning to forage then take someone with experience with you, read up before you go and even take a plant ID guide. As a rule, if you don’t know what it is, don’t pick it. There are many plants that are inedible and cause you serious harm, so be careful, especially with berries and fungi. 

Where Should I Go?

This is where it gets a little tricky. Foraging is allowed in many places, but there are few things you have to watch out for. Primarily, foraging is not allowed on private land as you will need permission!

A good place to start with foraging is in your local patch. Seen an undisturbed patch of nettles of three-cornered leek? Go for it! You could always start in your garden, like Hogs Bottom director Malcolm, who turned the fruit growing at the bottom of his garden into jams and chutneys. 

What Food Can I Forage?

The more you learn about foraging, the more you realise what wonderful foods can be found on your doorstep. If you’re just starting out, here are some things to look out for. 

Tip: Make sure to look for what is in season!

Berries including blackberries, hawthorn, sloes, strawberries, elder

Nuts including pine nuts, chestnuts

Leafy greens including nettles, wild garlic, sorrel

Fungi including chanterelle

Flowers including dandelion, three-cornered leek, elder

Fruit including crab apples

As you become more proficient with your foraging, make sure to do your research! Some species are protected and need a license to pick.

What Shall I Use My Findings For?

Whatever you like! Common uses for foraged foods are salads, pestos, soups, cordials and preserves. 

Hogs Bottom has a range of preserves made from plants you may find on your wild culinary travels. There’s Blackcurrant and Sloe Gin Jam, Gooseberry and Elderflower Jam and even Gooseberry and Coriander Chutney.

Be a Friend of Nature

Now you know how and where to forage, there are few last things to remember!

Minimise damage. Stick to paths and tracks, avoid trampling plants and never take more than you plan to use. Always leave plants when you leave the patch, never use the whole plant. 

Leave behind plenty for wildlife. Animals and insects rely on these plants for food and shelter, so make sure you think about them when you’re gathering food. 

Make sure that you forage somewhere that the plant is abundant. Don’t deplete stocks. Certainly don’t pick species that are rare or endangered. 

Foraging has seen a boom in recent years, with articles and social media flooded with pictures of smiley, sunny faces clutching their latest gathering of greens. But what is it? And how do you get started? Forage for flavours with our guide...

What is Foraging?

Simply put, foraging is the act of gathering food that is found in the wild. Specifically, foraging applies to plant life. 

Foraging has been increasing in recent years. Gathering wild food is a way of slowing down, looking around, connecting with your surroundings and disconnecting from busy everyday life. As well as creating a connection with nature, it reminds us of our history; foraging is how our ancestors hundreds and thousands of years ago would have gathered food.

What Do I Need to Forage?

There is simplicity in foraging. All you need is somewhere to put your findings, such as a tupperware, basket or bag. However, it is best to carry scissors and gloves with you, especially if foraging hardier plants like nettles. 

Can I Eat What I Forage?

Yes! That’s the joy of foraging! Going into nature and gathering your own food. 

However, if you are just beginning to forage then take someone with experience with you, read up before you go and even take a plant ID guide. As a rule, if you don’t know what it is, don’t pick it. There are many plants that are inedible and cause you serious harm, so be careful, especially with berries and fungi. 

Where Should I Go?

This is where it gets a little tricky. Foraging is allowed in many places, but there are few things you have to watch out for. Primarily, foraging is not allowed on private land as you will need permission!

A good place to start with foraging is in your local patch. Seen an undisturbed patch of nettles of three-cornered leek? Go for it! You could always start in your garden, like Hogs Bottom director Malcolm, who turned the fruit growing at the bottom of his garden into jams and chutneys. 

What Food Can I Forage?

The more you learn about foraging, the more you realise what wonderful foods can be found on your doorstep. If you’re just starting out, here are some things to look out for. 

Tip: Make sure to look for what is in season!

Berries including blackberries, hawthorn, sloes, strawberries, elder

Nuts including pine nuts, chestnuts

Leafy greens including nettles, wild garlic, sorrel

Fungi including chanterelle

Flowers including dandelion, three-cornered leek, elder

Fruit including crab apples

As you become more proficient with your foraging, make sure to do your research! Some species are protected and need a license to pick.

What Shall I Use My Findings For?

Whatever you like! Common uses for foraged foods are salads, pestos, soups, cordials and preserves. 

Hogs Bottom has a range of preserves made from plants you may find on your wild culinary travels. There’s Blackcurrant and Sloe Gin Jam, Gooseberry and Elderflower Jam and even Gooseberry and Coriander Chutney.

Be a Friend of Nature

Now you know how and where to forage, there are few last things to remember!

Minimise damage. Stick to paths and tracks, avoid trampling plants and never take more than you plan to use. Always leave plants when you leave the patch, never use the whole plant. 

Leave behind plenty for wildlife. Animals and insects rely on these plants for food and shelter, so make sure you think about them when you’re gathering food. 

Make sure that you forage somewhere that the plant is abundant. Don’t deplete stocks. Certainly don’t pick species that are rare or endangered. 

Now you have everything you need in your foraging toolkit, go out and gather!

Copyright @ Shutterstock


Post By Jenny

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