If you’ve never been foraging in the wild for freshly-grown seasonal produce, autumn is the perfect time to get back to nature and try your hand at this most ancient of activities – after all, for our distant ancestors, being a skilled forager was a matter of life and death.
If the mundanities of modern life are making you moody and you’re tired of mindlessly pacing the supermarket aisles for the same foods month in and month out, get outside, breathe in the refreshing and reinvigorating autumnal air, and let the beautiful British countryside inspire you and get you excited about food again.
From the tastiest wild mushrooms to beautiful juicy blackcurrants and sweet chestnuts, autumn is simply bursting with delicious seasonal treats, but if you’re unsure what’s safe to eat, when best to pick this produce or even where to find it, it helps to have an expert to hand to guide you and hopefully encourage you to adopt a new way of thinking about food.
Here at Fed Up & Drunk, we’ve rounded up some of the best foraging courses the country has to offer this autumn, so why not use this as an excuse to shake things up a bit and start a fantastic, healthy foodie hobby today.
Wild Food UK – https://www.wildfooduk.com/
Formed a few years ago due to Marlow Renton and Eric Biggane’s combined love of the great outdoors and their passion for seasonal produce, Wild Food UK aims to expand your experience of nature into a practical form of enjoyment. If you love your countryside and seaside walks, why not also learn how to identify, pick, and eat the many wild mushrooms, plants, fruits, roots and flowers you’re bound to pass along the way, whether you’re aware of it or not.
Providing you with all the skills you’ll need to become a confident forager, Wild Food UK has a number of autumn foraging courses available all across the UK this season. Check out their website and handy map feature to find a foraging course near you (https://www.wildfooduk.com/foraging-trips/).
The English Truffle Company – https://www.englishtruffles.co.uk/
Hunt for delicious and highly sought after English truffles with The English Truffle Company this autumn. An experience unlike any other, follow their friendly truffle hounds as they sniff out the tastiest truffles within the wild English woods. With experience days available in Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire, you’ll be given an informative introductory talk on truffles, a delicious lunch, two hours truffle hunting through the woods with the hounds followed by a cosy afternoon tea which includes the sampling of a truffle dish.
Join one of Fat Hen’s Forage, Cook, and Feast Days this October or November where you’ll experience a 2-hour foraging trip in the very best wild landscapes in West Cornwall. From searching the seashores to hunting in hedgerows, you’ll learn how to legally and safely forage everything from seeds, berries, fungi and roots, to seaweed and edible herbs.
Your course leader Caroline will teach you how to identify plants and watch out for poisonous lookalikes, as well as provide you with a ton of recipe ideas for your newly foraged produce. After the 2 hours spent foraging, you’ll return to Fat Hen and learn how to cook a number of wild dishes which you’ll then eat for lunch. The course will also include an introduction to fish or game where you may learn to butcher a rabbit or fillet a fish.
Due to the popularity of foraging courses, many of the UK’s best have already been sold out this autumn, but be sure to keep an eye out on the following websites for some great foraging courses available throughout 2019.
River Cottage’s gardening, foraging, and outdoor courses – https://www.rivercottage.net/cookery-courses/gardening-and-outside
Robin Harford’s Foraging Courses & Wild Food Walks – https://www.foragingcourses.com/
Taste the Wild’s One Day Foraging and One Day Coastal Foraging courses – https://tastethewild.co.uk/
Monica Wilde’s Fungi Foraging with John Wright – http://monicawilde.com/
Wild food foraging courses with Wild Food School – http://wildfoodschool.co.uk/
If the price of a ticket for one of these courses is a little too steep for you, the beauty of foraging is, as long as you feel confident and prepared, it’s free.