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Grandpa has been keeping his eye on Gruffalo Wood and has pronounced the blackberries, damsons, elderberries and crab apples ripe for picking.
So Grandma has been stocking up on the preserving jars and straining muslins and as long as it’s not too crazy wet the whole family will be busy filling our buckets with foraged fall fruits and making jam all weekend.
My 3 year old is incredibly excited … not least because she will spend the whole afternoon with juice covered face and hands that no one will bother to wipe clean.
Foraging may sound a bit eco-crazy but years and years ago … i.e. when I was a child in the 70s … it was what everyone did.
We certainly didn’t call it anything so fancy as foraging but every year we would pick huge quantities of blackberries, elderberries and damsons.
And as Grandpa is always telling us there is so much more that we should be picking, as long as we leave plenty for the birds and other mammals who also go crazy for foraged fall fruit.
You may think this is something for rural kids only but we’ve already managed two good foraged blackberry hauls this year and could have had elderberries and rose hips and more from the great rural wilderness that is the park at the end of our road.
And we’re in south London only a few miles from Buckingham Palace & St Pauls!
Easy Foraging Tips
If you’ve not foraged before, or since childhood, these are some foraging tips to remember …
- Only forage on public land or with permission
- Avoid foraging right next to major roads
- When you’re foraging only eat stuff about animal level before you get it home
- Children’s small plastic buckets are ideal when you’re actually picking
- But take tubs to transfer everything into
- Wash everything when you get home
- Leave for an hour or so to give any insects the chance to creep out & wash again
- Only eat stuff when you’re absolutely certain what it is
- Leave some for other people
- Leave some for the animals and birds
In London at least, there are foraging walks at this time of year in most of the parks and commons which is a good way to find out what’s around locally and what you can eat safely and when.
What to Forage?
What’s available to forage will vary by area but this is a list of 15 commonly found plants that are great to forage in fall …
- Crab apples
- Sloes (Blackthorn)
- Sweet Chestnuts
- Mushrooms (I would only mushroom with someone who knew what they were doing)
- Poppy Seeds
- Hawthorn Berries
- Beech Nuts
- Fennel Seeds
What about you? Do you go foraging or fruit picking? What are are your favourite fruits? Do share …
And if you’re looking for more fun ideas do check out our other outdoor posts …
Shared at Life Unexpected