Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • purplepixi
    • By purplepixi 8th Jun 06, 9:46 AM
    • 124Posts
    • 169Thanks
    Foraging - Natures Food
    • #1
    • 8th Jun 06, 9:46 AM
    Foraging - Natures Food 8th Jun 06 at 9:46 AM

    Recently I've been interested in local wild foods. (All spurred on by a walk in the woods and they pay off your mortgage in 2 years programs, with the nettle lady).

    Anyway I decided to do some research, there's plently of info on the net, and I brought a collins pocket guide to take walking with me.

    I'm very luck that I live in the country side, so most of the things growing wild haven't seen too much car pollution or crop spraying.

    Anyway, so far on my travels I've tried home made dandelion coffee, definately an aquired taste, I liked it but my hubby had to spit it out. I use the instructions from:, however, on first try, this guy says he boils the coffee - DON'T DO THAT - it's like really strong espresso if you to that, just make it like normal fresh coffee.

    I had a go at making dandelion preserve too - but couldn't get the mixture right - I'm not too good at jams.

    I've tried nettle tea, which is OK, just tastes like herbal tea. Also fresh mint tea, now this is really nice if you let it steep for 10 mins, full of goodness.

    I've also been identifying other edible plants locally, and there are quite a few, I found chickweed the other day, which I was pleased about, but haven't used it yet.

    And as it turns out we have a beech tree at the end of our garden and its fruiting, the nuts and leaves are edible, and I've found a beech gin recipe, that I'll have a go at when they're ripe.

    There are literally hundreds of edible wild plants, and I'd encouage you to have a look around (even if its just for dandelions!), and try some.

    However don't eat it if your not sure, as it could be poisonous. If it's on someone elses land - always ask first, you may be doing them a favour by taking away unwanted plants, but its alway better to ask, or it's stealing. Don't pick anything near busy roads or active crop land as it'll be covered in pollutants. And if there isn't a substansive amount of plant where you want to pick, move on to somewhere else, so the plants have a chance to survive.

    Other than that, I have to say this is what I would call extreme money saving, and for the more adventurous people out there. But if you like countryside walks, and camping then this is an ideal thing to have a go at.

    I hope the info is useful to someone.
Page 1
    • thriftlady
    • By thriftlady 8th Jun 06, 10:30 AM
    • 9,089 Posts
    • 28,909 Thanks
    • #2
    • 8th Jun 06, 10:30 AM
    • #2
    • 8th Jun 06, 10:30 AM
    Don't forget the elderflowers.They're just coming into bloom now-I can smell them from my desk,lovely.

    I shall be making elderflower cordial sometime soon,it's delicious.

    And in the Autumn you can make elderberry jelly-just as delicious.
    • mehefin
    • By mehefin 8th Jun 06, 11:44 AM
    • 366 Posts
    • 2,830 Thanks
    • #3
    • 8th Jun 06, 11:44 AM
    • #3
    • 8th Jun 06, 11:44 AM
    My dear old Mum used to make Elderflower champagne - it was extremely fizzy as I remember!
    Elder is good for wine making, flower or berry in season. Also you can dry the elderflower and use for tea, or more wine making!

    Dandelion makes a good wine but can be a bit tricky - try not to get any green of the flower in the must - it makes it taste dreadful!
    You could also use blackberry and sloes for alcoholic production... OMG I sound like a right toper!
  • lillydrip
    • #4
    • 10th Jun 06, 3:06 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Jun 06, 3:06 PM
    mmmmm elderflower cordial sounds lovely how do you make it thriftlady?
    • thriftlady
    • By thriftlady 10th Jun 06, 4:50 PM
    • 9,089 Posts
    • 28,909 Thanks
    • #5
    • 10th Jun 06, 4:50 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Jun 06, 4:50 PM
    Elderflower Cordial

    about 25 heads of elderflowers
    3 lbs of sugar
    juice of 4 lemons
    tartaric acid (you can get this from a chemist -it's only necessary if you want to keep the cordial for longer than a few weeks in the fridge)

    First give the blossoms a shake to get rid of any wildlife.
    Put them in a large bowl and cover with boiling water-you'll need about 3-4 pints.
    Leave overnight to infuse.
    Next day strain through a jelly bag or large piece of muslin.I expect old tights would work as well.Give it a squeeze to get all the juice.
    Measure the juice into a saucepan.
    For every pint of juice add 12 oz of sugar and 2 fl oz of lemon juice + a heaped tsp of tartaric acid.
    Bring to a simmer,stirring to dissolve the sugar.
    Let it cool,then strain again.Pour into glass bottles which you have sterilised in a 100c oven for about half an hour.Use a funnel for this btw .

    If you don't want to be bothered with sterilising and tartaric acid you can simply pour the cordial into freezer containers and feeze until needed.

    To serve dilute the cordial 1 part to 5 parts water.
    You may find you like more or less sugar and/or lemon juice.But it will taste good.My kids love it with ice on a hot day like today.
  • Kazonline
    • #6
    • 10th Jun 06, 7:33 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Jun 06, 7:33 PM
    Did you know that you can eat elderflowers? I didn't but I found the following while looking for a recipie for elderflower wine.
    However, the white or whitish-yellow flowers of all species and varieties are pleasantly fragrant and impart a muscat flavor to wines, ciders and vinegars. They are also edible and can be fried in fritter batter, added to pancake or muffin batter, cooked into pies and tarts, and added fresh to salads or many other food dishes. Here, however, our interest in the wines.
    Found on the following website

    Kaz x
    • krishna
    • By krishna 11th Jun 06, 1:27 AM
    • 817 Posts
    • 210 Thanks
    • #7
    • 11th Jun 06, 1:27 AM
    • #7
    • 11th Jun 06, 1:27 AM
    Lots of the really common 'weeds' are edible. I made a "weed pizza" with the kids: white dead nettle, ribwort plantain, good king henry, something from the mustard family but don't remember what, elderflowers. Basically what was in the garden at the time. Went down very well.

    Nettles make a great soup, though probably a bit late for that right now since you need the young leaves.

    You can eat the leaves of hawthorn and lime trees.

    Even young shoots of japanese knotweed taste great. Cook them like rhubarb.
    • Hellfire
    • By Hellfire 11th Jun 06, 1:34 AM
    • 252 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    • #8
    • 11th Jun 06, 1:34 AM
    • #8
    • 11th Jun 06, 1:34 AM
    dandelion greens are my favourites. old leaves are good cooked, the young ones excellent in salads. here in london the air and soil are polluted, but when I go visit friends in the country we have them, and i bring loads at home with me.

    ok, so i'm hot...
    • Penelope Penguin
    • By Penelope Penguin 11th Jun 06, 7:48 AM
    • 17,088 Posts
    • 132,754 Thanks
    Penelope Penguin
    • #9
    • 11th Jun 06, 7:48 AM
    • #9
    • 11th Jun 06, 7:48 AM
    How about brambles? Bit early, just yet, but bramble and apple pie/crumble. Yummy!

    Sloes are good, too. Love sloe gin, but it's not exactly MS, as you need to buy gin. However, I've used cheap supermarket own brand successfully, as the sloe flavour overpowers the gin.

    A couple of years ago, we went on a fungus forage, organised by the local authority. Was brill, as the experts pointed out several edible, widely available mushrooms. We do it now, armed with a book for reference, but only eat if we're sure. The experts said, not sure if it's true, that in UK there are very few fungi which will do serious harm. It's just that some are tastier than others.

    Penny. x
    Sheep, pigs, hens and bees on our Teesdale smallholding
    • MoJo
    • By MoJo 11th Jun 06, 11:30 AM
    • 538 Posts
    • 866 Thanks
    You can also make Sloe Vodka in the same way as Sloe Gin. This year I'm going to try Lavender Gin

  • kittiwoz
    The experts said, not sure if it's true, that in UK there are very few fungi which will do serious harm. It's just that some are tastier than others.
    by Penolpe Penguin
    Yeah, that is true. There aren't many types of fungi in Britain that will actually kill you but some of them can be confused with edible types. There are also a lot of fungi which are poisonous to a lesser degree and will make you feel ill and most are inedible. Roger Phillips' Mushrooms and Other Fungi of Grest Britain and Europe is a great resource now available on-line.
  • wigginsmum
    Pickled ash-keys are very nice - a bit like capers.
    The ability of skinny old ladies to carry huge loads is phenomenal. An ant can carry one hundred times its own weight, but there is no known limit to the lifting power of the average tiny eighty-year-old Spanish peasant grandmother.
    • Penelope Penguin
    • By Penelope Penguin 11th Jun 06, 2:49 PM
    • 17,088 Posts
    • 132,754 Thanks
    Penelope Penguin
    Thanks, Thriftlady. I've found an elder hanging over the fence into my garden. I'm out to nab them, now. Elderflower wine is very nice, too. Elderberry wine in the autumn, if you like full-bodied red. Lot of tannin in it, so needs to be left a few years before drinking.

    Wigginsmum - pickled ash keys, never?!?!? Recipe, anyone, I love capers?

    Hellfire - love the idea of eating dandelion greens. It's a way to get your own back. I understand, but haven't dared try, that the roots of ground elder are tasty, if that happens to be your invasive weed of choice.

    Update, 12 June. Elderflower cordial delicious. Kitchen smells great.

    Penny. x
    Last edited by Penelope Penguin; 12-06-2006 at 5:59 PM.
    Sheep, pigs, hens and bees on our Teesdale smallholding
    • apprentice tycoon
    • By apprentice tycoon 13th Jun 06, 9:23 AM
    • 3,286 Posts
    • 2,939 Thanks
    apprentice tycoon
    This is my second year making elderflower cordial using Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls recipe (similar to Thriftlady's recipe) but it really is far too sweet, I have just made some now with half the amount of sugar but it still seems too sweet. I could add more lemon juice I suppose but I don't want the lemon taste to override the elderflower taste - does anyone have any less sweet recipes - I don't need to worry about it keeping because it goes in the freezer, we are just finishing last years off!
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 13th Jun 06, 11:07 AM
    • 16,961 Posts
    • 145,238 Thanks
    My late ma-in-law used to make a sloe gin that was absolutely lethal. She also made ginger beer. Sadly when she died her recipe book got thrown out which was a shame as it had recipes from her grandmothers day late 1870s.
    My ma-in-law was the old wife that all the tales were written about .If you had something wrong with you she would come up with all sorts of cures .My kids thought she was a witch, as they usually worked.
    But she did bring up three lads on a widows pension during the Depression years of the 1930's so a visit to the Doctors was out of the question, as you had to pay up front in those days .So her remedies were kill or cure. She grew and picked everything that she could from her large garden, and also knew where the best mushrooms were, and we would often be roused out of bed in the early hours to go 'mushrooming' before the sun came up. My eldest thought she was strange as she didn't' go to Sainsburys like Mum did' But there were few shops or supermarkets near where she lived out in the wilds of the countryside to go to anyway
    She would have loved this site as she was amazingly frugal, and had all sorts of money-saving things that she used in her house.
    I remember for a tickly cough she would boil up homemade lemonade for the kids to drink.
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • Aril
    • By Aril 13th Jun 06, 1:18 PM
    • 1,882 Posts
    • 16,755 Thanks
    I'm been into foraging for the last 3 years or so and have to date made nettle soup, elderflower cordial and champagne [the latter was vile so need to find a better recipe methinks], hawthorn chutney, blackberry jam and blackberry whisky, elderberry gin, sloe gin, elderberry jam, rowanberry jelly [good with meat] and my Dad made me crabapple jelly last year. Also had beech nuts and chesnuts last autumn. Haven't been very brave with fungi. Sorrell is good but it is very peppery at the beginning of the season.
    One of my friend's makes a very effective cough cure with elderberries.
    Please could I have the recipe for pickled ash keys. Many thanks
    Aiming for a life of elegant frugality wearing a new-to-me silk shirt rather than one of hair!
  • wigginsmum
    Sadly I don't have a recipe for the pickled ash keys; they were given to me by a friend. I think there is a book about wild food that contains it:

    Wild Food
    The ability of skinny old ladies to carry huge loads is phenomenal. An ant can carry one hundred times its own weight, but there is no known limit to the lifting power of the average tiny eighty-year-old Spanish peasant grandmother.
    • MrsTinks
    • By MrsTinks 25th Sep 06, 10:26 PM
    • 14,995 Posts
    • 23,049 Thanks
    Mushroom foraging
    Any idea where to find a place that does a proper foraging course? Ijust can't justify 120 or 150 (I forget which) that they charge for the River cottage mushroom course...

    Not that I mind paying for a skill I will benefit from and which is vital if I want to pick wild mushrooms! But a little less pricey...
    DFW Nerd #025
    DFW no more! Officially debt free 2017 - now joining the MFW's!

    My DFW Diary - blah- mildly funny stuff about my journey
  • ChocClare
    This place in Sussex does it for 12 (unless you're a member, in which case it's 8) Scroll down the page and you'll see it. Where are you?
  • DrBenway
    Lots of mushrooms in the New Forest

    This link has a pdf showing different types of fungi and contact details for "fungi forays".
    NURSE: "Shouldn't it be sterilized, doctor?"
    DR. BENWAY: "Very likely but there's no time."
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

463Posts Today

4,106Users online

Martin's Twitter