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๐Ÿ€ Complete Guide To British Foraging ๐Ÿ€

๐Ÿ€ Complete Guide To British Foraging ๐Ÿ€


Monthly foraging guide:

what's in season, where to find it, and how to forage responsibly.


Our beginner's guide to foraging in Britain explains what you can gather in hedgerows, woodlands, along the coast and in the countryside.


Learn how to forage responsibly and safely, what's in season each month and where to find it, plus recipe ideas.




There is a wide variety of food you can forage for in Britain, including nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and more. Foraging is a great way to appreciate seasonal change, connect with nature and find wild local ingredients to use in delicious home cooking recipes.


Woodlands, forests and the countryside are a good place to start your foray into foraging, but you may also find wild foods in surprisingly urban places too, such as a local park or even your garden.

Our expert monthly foraging guide explains how to forage safely, the law and what's in season each month.


What is foraging?

Foraging is the activity of finding, gathering and harvesting wild foods โ€“ for free. It's a great way to stay active and spend time outdoors connecting with nature and learn more about where your food comes from.




How to forage responsibly

Always be sure you can positively identify any plant before you pick it, and never eat any plant you are unsure of. When foraging, ensure you leave plenty for wildlife.

Here are a couple of key foraging guidelines:

  • Seek permission before foraging. In certain areas, plant species will be protected so it is important to do some research and check with the landowner before you start gathering.

  • Only pick from areas that have a plentiful supply. Look for areas where you can find food in abundance and then only collect a small amount for personal use. Never completely strip an area as this could damage the species and deny another forager the chance to collect.

  • Leave enough for wildlife and avoid damaging habitats.Many animals rely on plants for survival, so never take more than you plan to eat as this could also deny wildlife from a valuable food source. Be mindful about wildlife habitats and avoid disturbing or damaging.

  • Never pick protected species or cause permanent damage. Britain's wild plants are all protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), which makes it illegal to dig up or remove a plant. Check the law before you forage or if in doubt, why not take part in a foraging class with an expert and learn the basics.

How to forage safely

Take a good field guide with you and always be sure you can positively identify any plant before you pick it. Never eat any plant you are unsure of. Taking part in a foraging course with an expert is a good way to learn how to forage safely and responsibly.






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January


Put on your woolly hat, zip up your coat and take a walk through the woodland to collect your first foraged finds of the year. While wild food isn't as abundant in January as other times of the year, you can still find plants such as chickweed, common sorrel, nettle and wild chervil.


January is a lean month โ€“ the berries and nuts of autumn are long gone and the few mushrooms available are best left to the experts. However, winter greens are worth trying. And butchers will also offer all sorts of game to try if you are happy to leave the foraging to someone with a gun.


Hairy bittercress



The bane of a new vegetable plot, hairy bittercress springs up even in the coldest weather it seems. It loves bare earth and its tiny rounded leaves in concentric rings are easy to spot. Itโ€™s also very tasty, especially in salads or a cheese sandwich where its watercress-like pepperiness really packs a punch.




Chickweed




Another common hardy winter green with a watercress-like flavour but is also good briefly boiled and then fried in butter (isnโ€™t everything?). Chickweed has small oval or heart-shaped leaves was once cultivated widely in Britain โ€“ the whole plant can be eaten. In Victorian times, it soft yet crisp texture when raw made it a salad essential.


Nettle




The first shoots of young nettles early in the year are the very best to eat and are a great spinach substitute in curries, pasta sauces and as a vegetable side dish. Gather as many as your patience will allow โ€“ wear gloves โ€“ and wash and drain them. Add to a saucepan without extra water and wilt them for 5-8 minutes until they resemble cooked spinach. Drain any excess water, toss in butter and season with salt and pepper.



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February


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