Getting to know nature, and then eating it!

Foraging

The Wild Forager is a blog dedicated to finding and eating the four free foods which you are allowed to harvest from nature; namely fungi (mushrooms and similar), flowers, fruit and foliage. Wild mushrooms such as Ceps (aka "porcino" or "penny bun"), Chanterelles, Oyster mushrooms, St Georges mushrooms, and Common field mushrooms to name but a few are quite easy to find in the uk. Edible plants, flowers and foliage such as dandelions, nettles, elderflower and wild garlic (which makes an excellent addition to both salads and cooked dishes) are even easier to find in the right season and to let them go to waste seems a shame. Why we don't all pick wild fruit such as apples and wild plums / damsons in the wild is beyond me. Even blackberry picking seems to be becoming a thing of the past!

It's time we rediscovered out roots and enjoyed the treasure trail of food made freely available to us through nature. Join me as I catalog my finds whilst I ramble (and munch) through the wonderous foraging delights that nature's larder has to offer. Everytime I find something in the wild that I want to eat, I'll post a picture, give an indication of where I found it, and tell you how I cooked it (most likely sauted in a little butter in the case of mushrooms).

Useful resources

You can't get far on your foraging voyage without needing a good resource for identifying your free food. Here are my picks of the bunch from those that know far more than I!

Books

Mushrooms (River Cottage Handbook No.1) - John Wright

This fantastic book goes with me on ever single mushroom forage (much more informative than the accompanying "Mushroom Magic" dvd). For each mushroom it indicates when you are likely to find them, where, how good they are to eat, and points out any similar posionous species to look out for.

Buy it on Amazon

Mushrooms - Roger Phillips

More photos of more mushrooms than I've seen in any other book. It's not usually prudent to go off looks alone but used alongside another book or two, it can help to solidfy your hopes (or fears!)

Buy it on Amazon

Food for free - Richard Mabey

The first book I ever read on foraging was this one by Richard Mabey. It goes with me on most walks and if it doesn't then it's little brother (the little gem) definately does

Buy it on Amazon

Food for free (little gem) - Richard Mabey

There's less in this book than there is in the original but then it is smaller. That said, most of the common things are in here and given it's size and price, it is certainly noteworthy

Buy it on Amazon

Hedgerow (River Cottage Handbook No.7) - John Wright

Hhaving watched the 3 hour long River Cottage dvd with John Wright I had to buy this book and it has, to be frank, knocked Richard Mabey's book clean out of my bag!

Buy it on Amazon

DVDs

Hedgerow - River Cottage

Three hours jam packed with insightful commentry from John Wright (with the occasional interuption from Hugh). Includes some simple recipes. An absolute gem!

Buy it on Amazon

Mushroom Magic - River Cottage

At about 60 minutes, this dvd is fun and worth a watch (especially if you're a River Cottage buff or John Wright fan) but it doesn't go into anywhere near as much depth as I would like (for that you'll want to get the book). Still it's a pleasant watch. One thing I noticed is the suggestion you might give mushrooms a sniff to decide what they are; given that the spores of the Death Cap are deadly I don't think I'd want to sniff it...

Buy it on Amazon

Websites

wild-food.net
John's somewhat of a hero in foraging circles
wildmanwildfood.com
Lots of information if you're willing to dig around a bit... you are a forager aren't you?