Foraging free food

Try and forage for free natural food.

I found this large puffball fungus in Colchester which are often only found by chance.

I found this large puffball fungus in Colchester, which are often only found by chance.

Free, healthy and natural, Autumn presents food in abundance for those who forage.  This morning I ate blackberries off the bush, apples straight from the tree, field mushrooms fresh from the ground and grapes from the vine.  Autumn in the UK provides a feast of fruit, nuts, fungi, berries and vegetables which with a little knowledge anyone can enjoy.

The world moves slowly towards a global food crisis, a global winter of famine is advancing just as winter starts to embrace the land of Britain in its cold hungry clutches.  I see in gardens in Colchester fruit left to waste, to fall off tree or bush ignored by humanity.  It appears humanity is blind to what is in front of their nose, free healthy food if only they could see it.

How crazy that people prefer over-priced blackberries in retail stores, treated with chemicals, stored in ways that encourage growth of toxic fungi or bacteria: £2.00 for a plastic box in Tesco but free and waiting for picking off the bush in Hilly Fields.

This morning I discovered a fungus called a giant puffball (see photo), finding a puffball is down to chance, so I struck lucky today.  Tonight and tomorrow I will be in nature learning to cook in the wild using a puffball as one of my ingredients.

At Colchester library I am learning more about fungi, working out the edible from the poisonous fungi.  I may get adventurous and try a Parasol mushroom that I saw growing abundantly in a local nature park.  I am also looking at grasses from which I will make bread from.

Foraging free food is fun, and with knowledge a safe, healthy alternative to the processed food sold in retail stores.

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26 responses to “Foraging free food

  1. Ahh Alex a man like me… there is so much out there for free if you only know what and where… not much of a mushroom picker as I don’t have enough knowledge about them… but your post is encouraging enough to get me started on research….

  2. is it moral to forage on land we don’t own ?

  3. I love foraging! There is a book called Food For Free by Richard Mabey which helped me figure out what to pick.

  4. My worry about foraging is that I’ll take away food which wild animals could have eaten – am I raiding their larder? But maybe that is a silly thought as often blackberries seem to go uneaten. Do birds eat blackberries?

    • Birds eat blackberries.

      I observe that there is more than enough food available for animal and human, much of it will go to waste as it gets claimed by mildew.

      You can always add sources of food to the environment by planting trees and plants that will in future provide food for animals, this is a way of repaying nature back for what you take.

  5. Foraging for food in the woods is not owned by any corporation. How is it possible to own Nature (yes, I know, western culture, the US) makes great attempt, it seems, at possessing nature, as if nature could be locked in a cage and sold at market. Oh wait! You make the excellent point, that, indeed, this does happen. I often wonder the same as you when out and about in the woods (I also forage wild foods and eat straight from the vine or bush or tree and sometimes the ground if a tasty seed/nut has fallen) that to pay for what would be ruined through processing, GMO, etc., which not only removes the natural nurtrients (I mean, you are eating life!) but the taste and the incredible flavor seems ridiculous. I have even ventured into the realm of insects. There are many that are an excellent source of nutrition and quite good.

    Have you tried any insects yet?

    • I have eaten no insects other than those that I ate accidentally whilst foraging. Insects are a good source of protein I understand based on the needs of hedgehogs that need a high protein diet, but I have no intention of eating insects.

      My personal position is that nobody has any claim to nature, one reason I oppose GM where corporates attempt to claim ownership of life processes through patents.

      I have eaten blackberries from retail stores, they have either no taste or are bland. When I eat blackberries in the wild they have taste, in fact they taste different from bush to bush.

      I won’t take food that others are using, but those locations where people are letting wild food go to waste I will forage from. I also repay nature for forage by planting food plants which might then grow to feed future animals.

  6. I know some people don’t like processed food, but I think three things contribute to the longer life that people are living in developed countries: knowledge, processed food, and medicine.

    Without processed food, there would be no way to feed seven billion people on Earth. In fact, even WITH processed food we are unable to do it. My life expectancy is 74.7 years. Males born in the United States today have an average life expectancy of 81.4 years, but by the time they reach 81, I suspect medicine will easily tack on another 20 years, not that they will be quality years, but nonetheless.

    • Hi Russel, people live longer but many suffer disability and bad health thanks in part to processed foods, such as diabetes, heart conditions, gout and obesity. It is no point living a long life if the individual is reduced to a dependent suffering unhappy individual whose health is totally wrecked.

      • I agree, but as Mr. Spock said in “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan,” the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Processed foods are necessary to feed seven billion people, even if 100 million of them get sick.

        To living a long life, I’m in The Who camp: “Hope I die before I get old.” When I no longer have the quality of life, I know many methods to alleviate my suffering so that I’m not a burden on anyone else or society.

      • I agree, processed foods is a difference between billions starving, despite their dark impact on health.

        Like you, I would hate to be a burden on others, so I attempt to safeguard my health as best I can.

      • I like what my wise old grandmother told me about life: “Too much of anything is bad for you.” That includes food, processed or not!………lol

  7. When I was growing up we picked a lot of wild berries, and of course morel mushrooms (handy because nothing else looks like them). Now there is a lot of spraying by farmers, so it’s hard to know what’s safe to pick …(sad).

    • I agree, the amount of pollution by modern farming techniques is a worry. There is also a recommendation to avoid eating fungi located near busy roads as they accumulate heavy metals such as lead.

  8. Today I was heading out to visit my son and his family when I noticed apples crushed on the street. I looked up to see where they had come from and realized this tree was too high to safely allow anyone to try to reach, I searched the ground for a few of these delicious granny smiths to have as a snack on the way, and found two. I carried them both with me instead to share one for me one for my granddaughter. Giving up my car I have recently noticed fruit trees growing in public spaces I had never noticed before. It’s time to start collecting and have a meal of completely foraged food.

    I hate watching people leaving their gardens to go to waste. I watched as my neighbor had earlier cantaloupes than I did. My mouth watered anticipating mine ripening and wishing for just one of her melons. Later I found her melons, every one of them, in the compost because she didn’t pay attention to her garden until they rotted. I wished I had picked on for myself.

    My next lesson will be to learn which mushrooms are safe to eat as well.

    • I have no car, using my legs for transport, and this is when as you have found you notice all the delicious free food around, many in public places. Well done on taking advantage of the abundance nature provides.

      Take care when picking mushrooms, it is worth going with an expert to teach you the edible from the dangerous mushrooms.

      Happy foraging!

      • Alex, I am terrified of picking the wrong mushrooms, so much so that I will only buy them from a grower who knows the difference. I was asked by my granddaughter to add some to the garden next year, but even that makes me nervous. I will have to face my fear it seems.

      • Your fears are reasonable as there are no cure for some of the deadly toxins some mushrooms have.

        I recommend you study the top ten edible mushrooms for your location and then any mushrooms that may be similar to edible ones that could be poison. Don’t touch any mushroom you are unable to identify. With knowledge the world of edible fungi open up to you with delicious and healthy outcomes.

  9. There is so much Free Food out there Alex, only over the last few days I took photos of all the free food in our hedgerows too and intent to use them in a post soon…
    Good that you are researching Fungi, Lots of goodies to eat, but also lots of nasties… 🙂
    Hope you enjoy your evening
    Sue

    • Yes, I always offer a reminder that there are dangers in the hedgegrows thus people should respect nature and learn about it rather than treat it like another consumer commodity.

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