Don’t pack lunch, pick it!
How to forage in field, forest and foreshore, for grazers on the go.
DON’T EAT THAT DEAR. It’ll give you a very bad tummy ache!” As young’uns, we’ve probably all heard a concerned elder issue that stern warning as our lips were poised ready to devour the strange but appetising berry we’d plucked from a hedgerow. And ever since then, many of us have been wary of trying the fruits, flora and fungi that grow wild.
Foraging for wild food can seem daunting, but while eating some species will do you harm, many more are brilliantly tasty, wonderfully nutritious and best of all free. Confidently knowing the difference between what’s nasty and nice is the first step in a gastronomic adventure, bringing a new appreciation for edible plants you’ll previously have passed by without a second thought. Bored of just blackberry picking, Country Walking wanted to know what else we could safely nibble, munch and gorge upon when we’re out walking. We also wanted to discover wild ingredients we could take home to zhoosh up our culinary creations. So we enlisted the help of foraging expert Rachel Lambert to show us the ropes on her home patch in Cornwall. It’s a county with a diverse geography and accordingly diverse wild foods. From its open moorland and wooded valleys, to the coast and hedgerow-lined pastures, it boasts a unique mix of environments you can find up and down Britain. Foraging can improve a walk anywhere and every season brings something different to the menu.
We spent a day with Rachel foraging beside the estuary of the River Camel and the rewards of our foray give a snapshot of what you can find here in the reliably fruitful month of September. In the next few pages, we’ve also included a few more common wild foods you’ll find in different locations and at different times of the year. Swot up on our foraging dos and don’ts ( p.73) and be sure to get hold of a good reference book before you head out. Bon appetit!
COASTAL CUISINE CW went looking for wild grub in the rich habitats of Cornwall’s Camel estuary, but the knowledge to forage applies anywhere in the UK.
COUNTRY WALKING’S CORNISH BOUNTY In just a few miles and a couple of hours’ wandering, we’d collected this scrumptious haul of healthy consumables from the shores of the Camel estuary. Our basket was laden with over 20 varieties of foraged foodstuffs.