MoneyMagpie

Feb 14

Foraging = Free food!

Go foraging as soon as the leaves and berries are out because it’s all FREE FOOD!

Here are some tips for getting free food for yourself, your family and your neighbours. Share and you can all have delicious free food on the table.

 

how to find free food in your neighbourhood

Being a country girl at heart, I love the satisfaction of foraging, and then making delicious FREE FOOD! Here are some great ways I use to pick up free, delicious food day-to-day

  • If you, or your neighbours have an apple tree (or cherry or any other fruit), you can offer to pick up the windfalls and then pay them back with an apple pie/jar of apple sauce/whatever you make. I’ve done it, and it’s a great way to get to know your neighbours – they can only say no. I’ve also made chestnut stuffing for the Christmas turkey out of chestnuts harvested in autumn (freeze it till Xmas) and my Dad made chicory coffee out of chicory root (I think) which he dried and powdered (mind you, everyone refused to drink it, so I’m not making any promises!) The point is, dig out some recipes and have a go. Just don’t mess with mushrooms/toadstools if you don’t know what they are.

Little girl excitedly picking an apple

  • Grow your own herbs: You don’t have to be green fingered – some are idiot-proof, as even I can grow them (mint). And you can do it in a flat. Don’t try to cultivate supermarket growing herbs though – I’ve never had any luck. Instead, when you’re passing a garden centre, get the smallest size of, tyme, parsley, mint, sage, rosemary, basil, salad herb (there is a herb called “salad herb” – it tastes like cucumber) and grow them in pots on a windowsill or patio. Just don’t harvest them too much before they’re established, otherwise you’ll have pots of stalks!

Selection of fresh herbs pegged on a string

  • Blackberries/chestnuts/apples: No, not all on the same plate or in the same dish! But they’re free and available, even in cities. Make sure you’re allowed to pick them though, and they’re not too smothered in pollution (ie next to a main road).

plate of Blackberries

  • Nettles. My mother used to send us out to gather nettles from the woods when we were kids, to make nettle soup. Remember to pick only the young tops, not the gnarled old stems or the older stringy plants. Wear gloves! It’s actually quite a spinachy soup, full of iron, and a great delicacy in Sweden with a boiled egg in.

Nettles on a chopping board

Once you have picked your free food, the next thing is to cook it.

Here are a couple of recipes I love that will use up some of your foraged food.

 

free food Nettle Soup

Bowl of nettle soup with yoghurt

Ingredients

  • 55g butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ potato, peeled and diced
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 bunch nettles, thick stalks removed
  • 3 large handfuls flatleaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt

Method

  1. Fry the onion gently in the butter, then add the potato and nettles. Stir for a few minutes.
  2. Add the stock and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Add the herbs.
  4. Blitz until smooth in a blender.
  5. Return to the pan, heat through and season to taste.
  6. Serve with a spoonful of yoghurt.

 

fREE FOOD Blackberry and Apple Crumble

Blackberry and apple crumble on a plate

Ingredients

  • 900g Bramley apples
  • 350-400g blackberries
  • 175g sugar + 55g for topping
  • 2 lemons
  • 225g plain flour
  • 175g butter
  • 125g muesli or a mixture of oats, seeds and chopped nuts

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Peel, core and chop the apples. Squeeze lemon juice over and mix well.
3. Put the apples, blackberries, and sugar in a large pie dish.
4. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the muesli or oat/seed/nut mixture and sugar.
5. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the fruit. Bake 45 minutes or until the fruit is cooked. Serve with cream/yoghurt, or just cold milk – mmm.

Note: You can use all blackberries but it might take you a while to gather 1.3kg! The tart apple works well with the sweeter blackberry taste. I’d use soft brown sugar for preference.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

2 thoughts on Foraging = Free food!

  1. This is a really awesome recipe and easy to make it successfully. You have to try!!!!! Yummy!!!! I have a cooking recipe site as well and I

    Reply
  2. This is a really awesome recipe and easy to make it successfully. You have to try!!!!! Yummy!!!! I have a cooking recipe site as well and I

    Reply

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