Forraging for free food

Else where there is a discussion about cockles & winkles, which started me thinking. How many here like their free food, straight from the wild?

By food for free I am talking Richard Mabey type food. Something from the wild that is foraged for & which just needs picking / taking. So no cartridges etc.

As a kid, I grew up in a farming village close to the coast.

From the beach & marsh I gained. Samphire, cockles, crabs, razor clams & lugworm to make beach fishing free.

From the countryside we collected mushrooms, blackberries, dandelion leaves chestnuts, walnuts & I used to go rabbiting at harvest time, walking beside the combine with a stick, waiting for rabbits to run for cover.

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Bunny murderer! :rage:

You would be hard put pick up anything at this time of the year .
A but of road kill maybe.

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Mainy years ago when I was a telephone linesman in Western NSW we used to be out for days or even a week at a time and in those days always carried a rifle to shoot something for dinner. Mostly rabbit but occasionally razorbacks or small kangaroos/wallabies (it was legal to shoot them then). Once shot a fox but it smelt disgusting while cooking and was basically inedible.

These days if I am one the beach I always stand in the edge of the sea and wiggle my feet to find Pippies in the sand to take home a feed. I think there is a bag limit of 50 but I rarely take more than 20.

Someone told me that while you can use them for bait it is actually illegal to take them home to eat because of algae blooms but I don’t know if that is true

Apart from that these days I find the supermarket more convenient, though if my son in law shoots a deer on his parent’s property I am always first in line for a bit of venison.

I don’t like cockles or muscles, but the horses field had a brilliant crop of mushrooms every year & boy were they tasty, nothing like the forced type you get in supermarkets.

Yes - have collected those and dilisk - both sets of grandparents lived near the sea.
Other things I harvest in season:-

Rose hips
Wild garlic
Crab apples
Rowan berries
Dandelion leaves
Beech nuts
Wild Thyme

I would never starve!

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You would be pretty thin though especially at this time of the year

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Good grief, that title takes me back. I had that Richard Mabey book donkeys years ago.

One thing though, I don’t think it wise to pick fungi like mushrooms, unless you are 100% sure of what you are doing.

Last year was the first year I have not picked Sloes in the autumn for many years.
I used to make Sloe Gin and/or Strawberry Vodka every year.

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Berries- raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries


Various herbs

Besides mussels , my husband catches fresh fish . ( not me )

We get wild ocean trout which is actually red like salmon. Mackerel, white ocean perch and I found the photo of the mussels

Don’t have a photo of the orange edible mushrooms so got one from online




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Your list reminded me of my childhood and teens, my old man was a wine maker and my brother and I had to go on these long expeditions collecting so many things on your list that it was not funny. All to make wine.

The funny thing is I dislike wine so for me it was a day spoilt.

When my brother and I left home the old bastard used to go to Ashford market and buy fruit for his wine there.

When he died we took over 300 bottles of wine to the dump.


I still have my copy - though it is well used and looks rather tatty now!

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It’s something I’d love to get into but being a towny I’m scared I’ll poison us

I see you can go on a course round here, to show you what’s safe to pick, I might try that

Other than that, just blackberries for me, always remembering what granny told me, to only pick from above the dog pee line :dog::astonished:

and never after Micklemass Day!

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Nobody’s mentioned hazelnuts. We used to find those in the hedgerows, and they were tasty.

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Watercress is another free food worth mentioning.

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Sadly - neither of them seem to grow around here.

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