There are so many reasons to enjoy foraging from the joy of finding fresh, organic, local and sustainable food to the health benefits of exercise and learning new skills.
Sara Martin kindly shared some of her extensive knowledge of foraging with us at our monthly Tuesday evening meeting on 31st January. Sara clearly explained the rules: it is permitted in most public places, for personal use only, and the importance of triple checking the ID of the plant you are looking at.
Beware of Hemlock water drop-wort never pick anything that looks like parsley (including cow parsley) carrot or celery! The sap from Hemlock is extremely dangerous and can cause serious chemical burns to skin and soft tissue.
Sara shared ideas for foraging to make decorations, household products, fragrant kindling and alcoholic drinks! We sampled her delicious elderberry balsamic vinegar, and she gave us the recipe for wild garlic pesto. There are 46 edible flower species in the UK, including lilac, violets and roses.
We talked about mushrooms and the importance of observing the appearance, location, underside, gills, spore print, smell, staining and season when identifying one of the 15,000 mushroom species in the UK! 5 safe beginner mushrooms are:
Sara recommended the book, The Forager's Calendar by John Wright as an excellent reading resource. She has kindly donated a copy to the One Planet Clanfield book collection, so please contact Ros if you would like to borrow it.