Foraging is great; connecting with your environment, connecting with your food, and really, who doesn’t like food for free? However, when foraging please remember to be safe and respectful. Here are a couple pointers:
- Be 100% sure. This is for your own health & safety! Many plants have poisonous lookalikes, so start with plants you really know. Use a good plant identification guide, or even better, a local person who can identify the plants with you the first few times, until you are confident that you can identify the plant from lookalikes. If you’re still nervous – you can always grow your own plants from seed, so you are 100% sure of the origin!
- Consider the environment. Wild food is usually free of pesticides and fertilizers, but you need to watch out for other things such as pollution and animals. Pick away from busy roads, “above dog height”, and avoid water plants near cattle.
- Allow for continuation. Always leave more than you take. Try to pick a little from several different locations rather than stripping one location. Pick a few leaves from each plant rather than all the leaves from one.
- Be aware of your rights. In England, you can forage for personal use, but not if you’re making products to sell. Check your local laws for rules in your own area. Don’t pick on private property or in conservation areas.
Having said all that, on to the good stuff; we’ve been collecting a list of edible plants in the UK. Here’s what we have so far, starting with Spring plants, of course it is possible for these plants to be out earlier or later depending on the climate for the year. We’ll be following this post up with more seasonal lists. Each image links to an information page about the plant. If you know of any edible plants not included, or of better information about them, please do let us know in the comments.
Mushrooms and Fungi
Shrubs, Hedges, and Vines