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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Monday, 26 September 2016

Behind bars.

These Japanese flowering quince are growing near the pond at my childrens school, behind a fence and out of reach of the casual forager. I'm counting on my children to persuade their teachers to let us pick them.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Nuts oh hazel nuts

I was walking the hedgerows thismorning checking on the pheasants and found some beautiful cobb nuts which i hadn't noticed before. I just need to keep the squirrels away from them now.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A Winberry by any other name

I was walking with some students in Llandegla forest yesterday and they found these, but putting a name to them isn't simple; I've always known them as winberries or bilberries but they are also known as blaeberry, whortleberry, whinberry, windberry, wimberry, myrtle blueberry and fraughan.

They are related to blueberries and taste very similar but do not grow as large.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Don't get this one wrong!

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is a picture of some sort of tomato. It's actually black nightshade, a close relative of tomatoes, potatoes and many other commonly eaten plants. It's also a close relative of deadly nightshade and is fairly similar in appearance.


Don't rely just on my picture here as an ID aid, do some detailed research until you are 100% certain about this species. Black nightsjade berries grow in clusters (as pictured) whereas deadly nightshade berries grow singly but are also black.

The black nightshade berries can be eaten raw on their own and in salads like tomatoes or as an ingredient in pies and puddings.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

A good haul

We had a really good foraging haul today. Several kilos of damsons for jam making, haws for making a batch of hawthorn ketchup, elderberries for cordial and two pigeons.

We also stumbled across the signs of something elses foraging, a recently 'badgered' wasp nest, raided for the larvae by a hungry badger.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

In traffic

While waiting in traffic to get into the Midland Game Fair a few minutes ago i spotted these shaggy parasol mushrooms on the verge. If it wasnt for the risk of being flattened by a bus i'd have hopped out of the car and picked them for lunch.

Friday, 16 September 2016

My favorite

I took a group of students to kinder Scout today to visit the site of the mass trespass in 1932 that paved the way for the establishment of National Parks and  modern access laws.

On our wanders i spotted my favorite fungi which in a few minutes will be my dinner. It's a penny bun (or cep or porcini) depending on how posh your recipie book is and they are delicious.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Cause for Confusion

Back on the Bushcraft Education blog I have posted from time to time about some of the wild foods which can't easily be mistaken for anything poisonous and at other times about things that can easily be mistaken for a toxic doppelganger. 

The topic of today's post is two berries, superficially similar, that I found growing next to each other but which are in fact very different. 

The scene; a mass off bushes draped in clusters of black berries; 
Here are the delicious elderberries which I use to make cordials and add to other ingredients in crumbles and pies

And here the not so delicious dog wood berries, can you tell the difference? Look for a foolproof clue in the last picture. While not commonly eaten and certainly not valued as a delicacy anywhere the berries are not actually toxic. Some species of dogwood are even cultivated specifically for their berries.  
CornusMas Fruits 01.jpg
Cornelian cherry dogwood is cultivated in Eastern Europe as an ingredient for jams and drinks; Picture by I, B.navezCC BY-SA 3.0
The foolproof tell tale, the latex like substance which will connect the parts of  a broken leaf  is indicative of dogwood.  

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

In a Jam

With all the fruit thats available to pick it was inevitable that we made some jams and jellies sooner or later, and with three children in the house it doesnt last long at all.

The latest batch was made from some of the damsons and crab apples i collected last week.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Sunday dinner

Im a few days behind with this post but my first duck of the season, a mallard, made a delicious sunday dinner. Nothing complicated, just took the breasts of, wrapped them in bacon and roasted them.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Crumble from the verge

Apples and blackberries growing on the roadside made a delicious crumble which was a hit with my youngest son Peter thisevening.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Roundabout Soup

Growing on this roundabout on my walk to and from work are these potatoes, a result of spills from trailers as tractors go round the roundabout. They also just happen to growing next to a nice patch of chickweed, so chickweed and potatoe soup is on the menue tomorrow.