The humble blackberry for me represents the Norfolk and Suffolk countryside. The country lanes are thick with brambles and thicket that always just look like thorny bushes of hell when you walk past. ...
Keep an eye out for Sea Buckthorn at the moment. While primarily a coastal plant, it does get planted in gardens and for landscaping often far inland. The berries are a "super food", rich in antioxidants, vitamin C (15 x oranges), amino acids and other good things - so good you see Sea Buckthorn products sold in health food shops for internal and external uses. They have a long history of medicinal uses back to the Ancient Greeks
Harvesting the berries is an interesting challenge. John Wright describes it very amusingly in his River Cottage Handbook - Seashore Foraging, suggesting you wear your loudest Hawaiian shirt that includes a lot of orange. The branches have sharp thorns, the berries are easily burst - "rubber balloons of bright orange liquid attached to a barbed wire fence". One technique (to be used in moderation as it can be invasive), is to cut branches off, take them home to put in the freezer then knock the berries off. You can also put plastic sheet on the ground under the bush and shake it, or carefully (remembering the thorns), squeeze a cluster of berries over a bucket and catch the juice, straining it later to remove leaves / debris.
This all sounds like a lot of work but is worth the effort. The berries are very sour but have an amazing flavour. The fruit can be used to make pies, jams, squashes / syrups, liquors (a la sloe gin but with vodka), etc. A jam made with the berries and crab apples is one of my favourites. A forager's Bucks Fizz put combines some juice with Elderflower Champagne and they make a great sauce to go with a Seaweed Panna Cotta.
Please note it is nothing to do with Common Buckthorn or the mildly poisonous Alder Buckthorn. ... See MoreSee Less
If you you're a fungi fan change your plans for the weekend and head for your favourite fungi spots. The combination of really hot weather then lots of wet days means the fungi are going crazy. Where I live we have lots of grass fields and I am picking Field Mushrooms, Fairy Ring Champignon and Scarlet Waxcaps. The fungi forums are buzzing with photos of good quantities and a wide range of species of both grassland (Parasols and Giant Puffballs) and woodland (Chanterelles, Ceps, Horn of Plenty, Chicken of The Woods, Amethyst Deceivers, False Saffron Milkcaps and many more). Of course, it's not just the good species that are about, I've seen photos of some of the Amanita's including the deadly Destroying Angel.
If this all sounds exciting but you don't know a Cep from an Amanita and, like most people, you would love to pick and eat wild mushrooms but are worried about picking the right ones, hold that thought. We are running full day and 3-4 hour fungi events in October (the usual peak month!). Our approach is not just to show you lots of species and tell you what they are, but to get you to understand why they are a particular species and how to identify them using simple tools. Details on the web site at www.hedgerow-harvest.com. ... See MoreSee Less