The Foraging Thread

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11 Oct 2012
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Eccles, Salford
Now that the blackberry season is well and truly kicking off, lots of us will probably do a bit of foraging over the next few months, so I thought it might be good to have a thread for anecdotes, questions and advice...

On one of the streets we service on Friday is a little delicatessen. Yesterday, I spotted that they were selling little tubs (the sort of size you get hummous in, probably holding 100g at most) of "Hand Picked Wild North Yorks Brambles". Blackberries. At a quid a tub! :o_o:

The previous evening I'd picked about a kilo on my way home, just by walking through the nature reserve and past the builders' merchant with the random bramble growing through the fence. I hadn't even been very thorough, just picking the best and easiest of what is going to be a bumper crop I think. They are in the freezer now, and I'll harvest more as they come ripe until I've got enough to make jelly and jam.

I'm fortunate to work on a nature reserve formed on what was a landfill site, where they used to dump the fruit pulp waste left over from making pastilles and gums at Rowntrees. So there are various feral apple, pear and plum trees. I've also spotted some promising rosehips, and a row of ornamental/crab apple trees outside a local supermarket. All of this on my walk home from work, more or less. I've done bramble jelly and jam before, but I'm going to experiment with plum, apple and rosehips (and maybe haws, as we have plenty of hawthorn trees too).

I don't really think about the monetary value of what I collect as a bonus - I have to buy sugar for preserving, and I don't really save money on jam because I tend not to buy it otherwise. But I like making preserves, and I like giving them as gifts, and the 'freeness' of the fruit is an added bonus and talking point.

So, there's my opening essay, anyone else got any foraging thoughts?
 
I run an open to all annual bicycle foraging day in Norwich................ this year will be the third one:)

We cycle maybe 10 miles across the city and forage Nuts, Berries, Figs, Grapes, Meddlers, Apples, Pear, various herbs and other edible plants along the way.
 
Oh, that's a nice idea!

What I'd really like is to find a friendly forgotten quince bush. I love quince jelly. I'll plant one when NT and I get the garden going.

The reserve I work on has a foraging walk coming up, I'll have to see if it's a week we can be over in York.
 
We have been out to walk Oz along various public accessible sections of the Rivers Yare and Tas this morning and it looks like it will be another 2-3 weeks before the foraging season will be in full swing. Blackberries, Apples, Pears, Rowan, Hawes, Rosehips, Sloes, Angelica, Fennel, Dill, Garlic Beech, Hazelnuts, Walnut and Almonds are all there.......... it's just a little too early for them all yet.
I have a highly mobile bicycle plan for this season.... more so than in previous years, and have at last got my ideal foraging kit together. Which comprises of a Nether Wallop Berry Picker, and a Wolf Garten Fruit picker with 2-4 metre extendable telescopic handle. Both of which are relatively easily packed onto my hybrid bicycle along with my pannier bags................... or even my trailer if the load is worth hauling.
 

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I've managed to organise us to be in York for the foraging walk at work, so it'll be interesting to see what they show us, and what they find that I don't yet know about...
 
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