I saw a random tweet from @NFUCountryside, asking about foraging, and which wild foods people collected. I think this is worth more than a tweet, so here is a post.
Things that I usually pick in quantity every year:
- blackberries of course
- Rowan berries (for jelly)
- Crab apples (for jelly)
Although the internet is for some reason full of proclamations that 2013 is a good apple year, I'm not convinced. Only three of my usual crab apple trees have any apples this year, and two of my own trees are practically apple-free. Only the late apple has decent numbers of fruit. I think there was too much wet in parts of the spring, and the very dry hot spell was a bit TOO dry for some trees.
Then there are the things I sometimes pick, if it's a good year for them:
- Whortleberries (not this year though, too dry)
- sweet chestnuts (not often a good year, but worth a try when, eventually, it is.)
- eating apples (I know a couple of eating apple seedlings that I assume have grown from pips.)
Things I might pick a few of in passing for a snack from time to time, don't gather in quantity:
- wild strawberries
- woodsorrel leaves
- beechnuts (when its actually a good year for them, which is rare. And they are so tiny and need so much getting into!)
Things I always mean to pick but rarely get round to, or just don't like very much
- elderflowers (I have made elderflower cordial, and it's delicious, but just so much of a faff)
- sloes (I can't be bothered with sloe gin, and am yet to be convinced by any other sloe product.)
Things I once found and were brilliant, but don't find around here
- cherries. I once found myself for some reason having to wait several hours at a very dull shopping centre near Manchester. So I went out for a walk around it, as I found there was a small park and some footpaths tucked away behind it. And to my delight, they had planted up the park and all the footpath margins with wild cherry trees, which were all in perfectly ripe fruit! I couldn't reach most of them, but I still ate a lot of cherries that day. Oddly, I seemed to be the only one eating them.
- mushrooms. I'm not good enough at mushrooms to be sure of anything but field and horse mushrooms, and for some reason we don't seem to get those coming up around here, I'm not sure why. Soil too stony and acidic maybe?