Go wild and forage!
From blackberries and damsons to strawberries and dandelions, now’s a perfect time to skip your trip to the supermarket and get foraging.
Blackberries are the real stars of the show this time of year followed closely by wild strawberries, damsons, plums and pears.
For the more adventurous among you there are nettles (great in soup or pesto) and young leaves such as hawthorn, dandelion and lady’s mantle, which make lovely salads.
You’ll find brambles in parks, marshes and heaths, particularly where the mowed grass stops and shrub begins. Damsons, plums and pears are growing now on commons across the country.
You can always freeze what you can’t use, or look on the internet for how to preserve your treasures. Or look for creative ways to share your bounty – how about a blackberry cocktail party?
While you’re foraging, keep a lookout for apples, sloes and crab apples, which will be ripening soon. Though sloes and crab apples are inedible before cooked, a little bit of planning and cooking time is all you need to turn these into really special treats come the holidays. Sloe gin anyone?
And just think about all the carbon you’re saving by picking fruit grown outside instead of in energy-sapping greenhouses. Not to mention the energy saved in transporting the fruit to your supermarket.
And with no pesticides, fertilisers or packaging - what could be more organic?
Gathered from among our colleagues at EcoTeams, here are our favourite foraging tips.
1. Wear hard-wearing gloves
You might also bring some clippers in case there are too many thorns to cope with.
2. Bring along helpers
A friend and a long stick to knock the fruit off trees can both help a lot.
3. Don’t be afraid to try new things
Some foraging delights, such as dandelion greens, have supermarket cousins and may not taste as strange as they seem.
4. Make sure you can identify what’s available
Go with a local foraging group or pick up a guide
5. Get chatting
Ask around among your friends, family and neighbours who can help you find the best spots.
Got a tip for the perfect place to forage? Or a great recipe to preserve your finds? Post in in our forums - you must be logged in to post!