Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by sheddi » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:04 pm

So I was out for a wander this afternoon and noticed that nature's bounty is there in abundance. Here's a few photos.

Blackberries - I trust you all recognise these. The fruit of the bramble bush, which grows pretty much everywhere (given the chance).
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Plums. There's several sorts growing wild near me, and here's three of them. First, black plums, then yellow plums, and finally sloes (the fruit of the blackthorn tree, which is a wild member of the plum family). Blackthorn is a very common hedging plant, but the other plums are a bit more unusual.
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Talking of hedging plants, don't overlook the humble haw - fruit of the hawthorn tree.
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Then there's rose hips, also common in hedgerows. These ones aren't quite ripe, but when they are they're a beautiful orangey-red colour.
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And elderberries, from the elder tree. There's some interesting elderberry facts here.
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Moving away from fruits, there seems to be a good crop of hazelnuts this year. The photo of the nuts on the tree didn't work as well as I'd hoped, so there's a photo of them in my hand too.
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Finally, let's not forget seasonings. Poppy seeds anyone?
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There's a field down the road with something like 20 acres of poppies under cultivation. I'm not sure whether they're being grown for the seeds, or for something more medicinal ...
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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by Ad'lan » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:35 pm

Being as this is a thread where we don't assume things, You can't Eat Rosehips Raw, You have to boil them up with Sugar and such (I think I posted a Recipe somewhere) and you get Rosehip Syrup, a good source of Vitamin C.

Haw is a delicious appley fruit that for some reason, everyone else seems to hate. Lots of Fiber.
You can also eat the fresh green leaves, lots of protein for a leaf. Used to be Called Bread and Cheese (not cos it tastes like it, but because it used to be a spring time staple.)

Edit: Sheddi has just pointed out something to me. My folks have never eaten rosehips raw, all the cases of human consumption I've come across involve cooking or fermenting in some way. But I don't know that you actually can't eat them raw. My bad.
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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by TC » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:54 pm

Glad to see this thread rising up to the top of the heap again.

I came across some Elder berries today, although I didn't pick them. I did gather some damsons though, which are growing at the bottom of my parents garden and have only just been discovered after been hidden by a ton of ivy on a tree in front of them.

I also pick a bunch of blackberries every week where I go shooting. The owner has no use for them (his wife won't cook them), so he lets me have them in as large a quantity as I can gather. August is my usual picking season and so far this month I have gathered several kilos (I have a log book with the numbers, but I don't have it to hand). Plenty to keep myself in blackberry and apple pie for the rest of the year! Best of all, they come from nice clean land and aren't all swollen and flavourless like the ones in the supermarkets.

Maybe I'll do a bit for this thread on fungi, although there are already some listed IIRC. I have a note on an edible fungus in my recent thread here in ZS:X.
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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by sheddi » Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:10 pm

Time for a spot of thread necro :)

Earlier in this thread I mentioned that on one of my favourite walking routes there are apple trees in the hedgerows. Mostly they're crabapples but this year I noticed that this tree had a bumper crop of apples:
Image

Naturally they're all too high to reach and the tree isn't really amenable to climbing. There have been several windfalls but they've all been badly damaged and/or full of slugs and/or wasps.

Until now, that is.

Today I picked up these two beauties:
Image

For a wild tree the fruit are impressive. Large and even with a hint of rose on the skin, the flesh is sweet and fairly soft. It's altogether inoffensive without being as bland as a Golden Delicious.

I count this as a wild food success :D
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Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by wee drop o' bush » Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:29 pm

Are you sure those are crab apples? :clownshoes:
My mum has an apple tree in her garden and they are nowhere near as nice as those wild ones.
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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by sheddi » Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:58 pm

wee drop o' bush wrote:Are you sure those are crab apples? :clownshoes:
They're definitely growing in a hedgerow on a traditional byway, so I'm going to call them wild unless anyone knows better :)

Apple propagation is slightly odd. (Apologies if you already know this.)

Apples can't self-pollinate so they never breed true. The only way to get several identical apple trees is to take cuttings and grow them, although it's more common to graft them onto the roots of an entirely different apple tree.

For example, every Bramley tree in the world is a cutting (to the nth-generation) of the original Bramley tree in Notts:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13764153

The lowest common denominator of wild apple trees is the crabapple, with small sour fruit, but sometimes the genetic roulette results in a tree with large sweet fruit. This seems to be what has happened here.

If you're interested in apples I can recommend the BBC documentary "Apples: British to the Core" linked to from the clip above. There are a couple f other clips on the BBC website and the whole hour-long thing turns up on YouTube from time to time. It is currently here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h29uBlqSrgQ
My mum has an apple tree in her garden and they are nowhere near as nice as those wild ones.
We've got an apple tree too, and the apples on that aren't as good as the wild one either! Although that's not entirely fair; our tree has smaller fruit but they're denser and more strongly flavoured, and the apple skins are a lovely red colour. I'll try to get a photo tomorrow when it's light again.
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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by wee drop o' bush » Sat Sep 26, 2015 4:23 pm

Thanks Sheddi, we had two different apple trees here that we planted 5 years ago in the hope of pollination. Then a crop of ram lambs broke out and used one as a scratching post, it didn't survive :rofl:
Beyond knowing that they don't self pollinate and that you need a 'male' and a 'female' plant, that's the height of my understanding.
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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by sheddi » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:38 am

Here's more appleporn for the thread.

A plate of different apple varieties (plus an interloper pear) picked up free from local gardens this morning:
Image
The shiny red apple at centre-left is from our tree.

Speaking of which :
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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by wee drop o' bush » Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:38 am

How do ya like them apples!
:clownshoes:


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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by Chicago Zombie » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:18 am

I just came across a free Ebook today on this topic. I'm not sure how long it will be free (& many times these books become free once a month).

Raw Edible Flowers and Leaves for the British Isles

(93 pages)

http://www.amazon.com/Edible-Flowers-Le ... B0094G42DC
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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by Chicago Zombie » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:19 am

This one too:

Raw Edible Wild Plants for the British Isles

(83 pages)

http://www.amazon.com/Edible-Plants-Bri ... B006GZUN3M
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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by sheddi » Sat Oct 24, 2015 3:54 pm

Chicago Zombie wrote:This one too:
Thanks for those, I'll add them to my library :)
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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by Ad'lan » Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:38 pm

[quote="sheddi"
The lowest common denominator of wild apple trees is the crabapple, with small sour fruit, but sometimes the genetic roulette results in a tree with large sweet fruit. This seems to be what has happened here.

[/quote]

This is how new varieties of apple get discovered. My grandfather found an apple in a hedge, grafted and distributed cuttings, and got to name the new variety. It's also why he always throws his apple cores into the hedgerows.
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Re: Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by Zombie_Hunter_UK » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:51 am

This is a great thread, thanks.

This is something I've really been meaning to get into more seriously over the past couple of years but never had. I know the very basic plants but this is very helpful.

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