Wild Food

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As we speed along country lanes, past open fields, forests and hedgerows it is easy to forget that we have passed by the chance of picking food from the greatest larder of them all-natureís own. Real gems of delicious and nutritious food left alone whilst we pick up vacuum packed forced greens, tasteless mushrooms and plastic pots of parsley and mint. The countryside is home to countless herbs, vegetables and fruits that were commonplace on every kitchen table for hundreds of years and now long forgotten through our quest to grow courgettes that fit the exact size requirement of a Brussels bureaucrat.

Wild Blackberries
It is easy to be cynical about food foraging, it isnít limited to a few new age hippies or mid-life crisis sufferers searching for the good life. It is about treating our natural environment with respect, re-introducing tastes of yesteryear and making the most of the little land left which hasnít fallen under the property developerís axe.

By picking only as much as we need and treating the plants with care we are helping the countryside to continue its natural evolvement rather than pillaging mercilessly with no thought for the plant or other foragers. There really is nothing to compare with spotting the first of the wild garlic or some fresh chanterelles or picking ripe blackberries from a hedgerow.

It gives us all a taste of the hunterís life and the pleasure gained from eating food for free. All of the food we eat today came from a wild ancestor, what we have ended up with is the result of scientific tests, crop spraying and mechanical cultivation. Maybe now is the time to take a closer and kinder look at natureís larder.

Mushrooms - Fungi
Edible Plants
Feather and Fur

Content and picture © Miles Collins