A little space for a few gentle tips on foraging and some recommendations for further reading.
Foraging: searching for wild food resources.
Herb: any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavouring, food, medicine, or perfume.
Foraging in a sustainable and ethical way is extremely important.
More and more people are shifting their focus to the land we live on and gathering the beautiful food and medicine at our feet, so it's more important than ever to be sure we are being careful with how much we are taking from the land:
Click here for a free foraging guide from Sophie at Betony and Sage (use code 'GENTLYGATHER' at checkout to make this free)
'Food For Free'
by Richard Mabey
- a pocket sized guide full of information. Each plant has various images, helping with identification. There are a handful of recipes, some folklore, descriptions and a little calendar to help plan trips.
'Hedgerow Medicine' (Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies)
by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Sea
- I personally love utilising the herbs around us for family medicines. This is a lovely book for helping with identification of herbs found specifically in hedgerows, and gives some really helpful information regarding recipes and medicinal processes.
A Few Little Tips:
- I would highly recommend really getting to know the places you plan to forage, making notes of places you spot foragable goods and gathering knowledge of them all year round.
Different areas in the country (UK) will vary slightly as to when the foragable herbs are available.
- Get to know plants slowly. Don't rush out to find all of the available herbs at once. Get to know each plant to be sure you are confident on its identification. Concentrating on 1-3 plants at a time will be much more successful than going for lots.
- Be aware of pollinators and local wildlife. Never take too much, leave it as though you were never there. It may be frustrating when you FINALLY find the herb you've been looking for and there is exactly what you need there in front of you... but be sure to only take 1 in 20 of what you see.
- Collect the herbs gently - twisting stems, taking a pocket knife or whatever does the least damage to the plant. Look this up if you aren't sure how best to treat the plant.
- Know what you're using your chosen herb for. This helps to prevent gathering too much. Of course, take a little to help with identification if it helps, but try to gather what you need when you need it.
- Where relevant, get the land owners permission. It is illegal to dig up roots without permission.