Throughout the year, nature’s hedgerows, footpaths and the overgrown patches of wilderness that gladly invade our city provide us with delicious urban treats to forage..
The golden rules of foraging to follow are that:
-> Never take more than 1/3 of any one plant or tree – it’s much better to pick from a few plants or trees than pick everything from one tree.
->Never take flowers unless there is an abundance, and ideally, wait for the bees to have their way with them first: if you take all the flowers, you’ll never get the fruit and most plants won’t be able to reproduce!
->It may be illegal to dig some plants up by the roots, depending on what it is and where you are. Check here for more info:
-> And of course, if you aren’t sure what it is, check, check and check again: with a book, with the internet, with a knowledgeable friend before you eat it. If you aren’t sure, don’t. Particular caution must be taken with anything from the Umbelliferae (or Apiaceae) family i.e. anything that has leaves that resemble those of carrot tops or parsley: there are many within that family that are poisonous and some are deadly to humans! Particular caution must also be taken with all mushrooms: unless you are 100% positive, best to avoid eating them, they won’t go to waste in the woodland and you’ll live another day to taste more forageable wonders!
Foraging always from an abundance, I’ll pick what I’m sure of.
I’ll take some for me, leave some for the birds and bees and some for the tree!
In the spring, there are many edible greens to be munching on and the first of the edible flowers
In the summer, come the fragrant elderflower and meadowsweet, wild berries, cherries, and yet more edible flowers
In the autumn, the hedgerows come alive with rosehips, haw berries, sloes crab apples and more, plus mushrooms poke their heads out
In the winter, what’s left from autumn lingers, mushrooms hang on, and nature has a rest from being the master larder before spring rings in and it starts all over…