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10 Things to Forage in Autumn
Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus)
Blackberries are an easy foraged food to start with. They are pretty much on every hedgerow. Fill a bag, take them home and make jam or put them into a apple crumble.
Sloes (Prunus spinosa)
Sloes are round black berries from a blackthorn bush. We use them to make sloe gin for Christmas, which has been know to put a few people to sleep over the years.
Rosehip (Rosa species)
Rosehip is another common fruit to forage in Autumn. They are very high in vitamin C, women foraged them during World War 2 to keep people’s levels up and prevent scurvy. You can use them to make rosehip syrup. I personally haven’t foraged rosehip before as I’m paranoid I’ll pick the wrong thing. Hawthorn is very similar.
Hazelnuts are another easy food to forage. They are easy to identify and there are plenty of hazelnut trees around.
Apples (Malus pumila)
We are very lucky that one of our friends has a mini orchard in their garden so every Autumn I go round armed with my bags to fill up. You can collect eating or cooking apples. I personally collect cooking apples and cook them up in a big pan along with my blackberries and a bit of sugar. I then portion it out into containers and pop them in the freezer ready to use another day. When we defrost them I either just give them to the children warmed up with a bit of custard or I make apple crumble.
Sweet Chestnuts (Castanea sativa)
Sweet chestnuts are easy to find you generally find them on the floor in most parks in October. The nuts are encased in a spiky shell, a bit like a conker shell but not as big or hard. You can eat them as they are or roast them which is heavenly!
Damsons (Prunus insititia)
Damsons are a form of plum found on trees with a dark blue skin and yellow flesh. They are best picked in October. You can eat them as they are or use them to make jams. I have even heard of people using them to make vodka.
Elderberries are another good Autumn foraging food. You can use the berries to make tonics or even wine. They are also very high in vitamin c and packed with antioxidants.
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
Horseradish can be found growing wild in a number of places in the UK. To identify it correctly scrunch the leaves in your hands and have a smell. The smell of the horseradish should be really strong. A good place to start looking for it is either banks or hedgerows.
Mushrooms are another food that I haven’t ever attempted to forage. I’m too scared I’ll pick the wrong thing. Saying that though in Autumn they are everywhere, just waiting to be picked. I’d suggest arming yourself with a book that can help you to identify the different kinds, like this book by Michael James called Foraging: The Essential User Guide to Foraging Wild Edible Plants and Fungi (Wilderness Survival, Foraging Guide, Wildcrafting).