Saturday, 2 July 2016

Day 27 - Foraging Tips

I thought I'd just give you a heads-up on some foraging resources to help you with your wild food gathering. The elderflower season has just finished and, because of the weather, it hasn't been the best of years. There simply wasn't enough blossom around. I only managed to make a three litres of cordial. That'll be enough for the year but no surplus for gifts/bartering. Sorry about that.

Books

Richard Mabey Food for Free 
First published in 1972 and riding on the back of the whole self-sufficiency, back-to-the-land zeitgeist thing of the early 1970s. It's been regularly updated and has always been in print. It goes through just about every food in the UK that can be foraged both on land and in the water (both fresh and sea). If you have to have one book on foraging then this is it. Get the pocket-sized edition so that you can carry it around with you when you're out and about.

Richard Mabey is a prolific writer on nature and the countryside and I'm sure that I'm close to having read every one. I can recommend Nature Cure, Beechcombings:The Narrative of Trees and his biography of Gilbert White. 


Adele Nozedar The Hedgerow Handbook: Recipes, Remedies and Rituals
I tend not to carry this book around with me as it's a bit too big and heavy but it's still one of my favourite foraging books. It isn't as wide-ranging as Food for Free as it is only about plants from the hedgerows of Britain. Given for most of us this is the bulk of our foraging then it's a good book to have. It delves into the folklore of edible plants and explores the medicinal qualities of each plant. The recipes are fantastic and that's what I tend to use it for.



Vivien Weise Cooking Weeds
I got this as a Christmas present from somebody who knows me too well. Somebody once said that weeds are just plants that are in the wrong place. It's perhaps for that reason that weeds are not often used for food. Anyway, there are some great recipes in this book like Nipplewort Soup (you'll need your Richard Mabey to identify this). I have to admit I've only tried a couple of recipes from Cooking Weeds but I love looking through it and planning to try some of the others.



Websites

Every article on foraging published in the Guardian.

This blog on urban foraging is a real joy. Lots of tips on identifying and locating plants plus cooking advice.

One of a series by TV bushcrafter Ray Mears on wild food and hunting and gathering. Lots of foraging tips. Mears is not a vegetarian so there is an occasional bit of catching and eating wild animals. That's not a problem for me but I thought I'd give you advance warning.

A good friend and excellent storyteller wrote a series of articles on foraging for the 'Smallholder' magazine.











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