Food for free

I’m a foraging kind of person, though my experience of foraging is limited by many years of living in a city.

In the past, I’ve foraged for enough fungi to gladden a vegetarian’s heart and fill her plate with such colourfully named food as puffballs and Jews ears and lawyer’s wigs.

Lawyer's wig

It was a near fatal experience, not due to anything I ate but because I ran down the steepest of inclines to reach some of the specimens, narrowly avoiding collision with a barbed wire fence at the bottom.

A year or so back I was all about the elderberry and collected enough to make a small jar of  Pontack sauce. You’re supposed to mature it for 6 years or so, but it tastes sublime after a year or two.

This year, though the media may tell another story, has been a ripe old one for blackberries. Which happen to be my favourite fruit.
Foraged blackberries

I’ve foraged high and low for them – made apple and blackberry sponge, summer pudding, blackberry vodka and blackberry whiskey.

And after all that and giving some away, I still have a pot left over.

View on flick

So here I am, preparing apples, because what else goes better with blackberries. This potful will be stewed with the apples (“foraged” from the unloved garden of an abandoned house) and portioned up ready for some winter’s evening when I’m ready to be reminded of the tastes of late summer.  There’s only one thing left to be decided and that’s pie, sponge or crumble.

And you really should check out Richard Mabey’s amazing book Food for Free, but if you do go foraging and hit any barbed wire fences, don’t blame me.



  1. My foraging is mostly limited to morels in the spring and berries whenever I can find them. I’m a wee bit skeptical about the notion of blackberry whiskey, but lawdy those blackberries look delicious.

    I am suddenly famished. And thirsty.

  2. Delicious top picture with intriguing blurs that don’t look like the regular camera?

    We just had a selection of ‘shrooms in the garden but I didn’t dare pick them for fear of unexpected side effects.

    Blackberries and apples, however, are fair game. Our little apple tree in the front garden went mad this year and created bucketfuls of lovely sweet eating apples which we’ve more or less eaten or passed along to family and friends.

    • Greg – I was sceptical about the blackberry whiskey – I’ll let you know in a year or so.

      I would kill, well maybe not kill, but go a long way for some morels but I’ve never seen them growing wild.

      rashbre – well spotted. It was taken on Ron’s M6. To be honest I’m not sure I like the bokeh, even if it does have a pedigree.

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