We chat to Fergus Drennan, of fantastic foraging blog Wild Man Wild food, about eating frogspawn, living off the fat of the land and life as a hunter/gatherer.
My guide to Bear Grylls-style skillz for the next time you get lost in the middle of nowhere. Just make sure you have a few matches on you…
It felt like spring today. I actually had lunch outside (admittedly in my jumper and coat) and sat on the grass (which was wet but come on, this is Wales). This is a good sign since I am going slightly mad waiting to wear flipflops and my skin is crying out for vitamin D.
You know the deal: the apocalypse has been and gone, the population has been decimated and now you must survive off grubs and the occasional squirrel in the woods. This is when hours watching Ray Mears and endless episodes of Lost pays off big time.
One of my favourite writers, the hilarious Tanya Gold, would not do well left to forage for herself – Bear Grylls she ain’t. Watch this video for The Guardian as a guide on how not to attempt to live off the land (although there is a half-decent explanation of how to skin a pheasant) and also because it is funny in a car crash kind of way.
Rose hips are abundant in British hedgerows in Autumn and early winter, and are easily recognisable – fat, bright red buds with spiky black ends. They are a bit of a wonder food – high in vitamins C, A and B and rich in antioxidants, they are used to make syrups, jams, jellies, even bread and pies. If you’re a bit of a beginner in the foraging stakes, start off with some healthy and delicious rose hip tea, which is fantastic for beating winter colds.
This weekend I decided to practise what I preached earlier on in this blog by going out foraging, also known as ‘seeing what wild goodies I can collect to feed myself with’. Foraging scares a lot of people – it sounds difficult, time-consuming and frankly, dull. To these people I say, you are incorrect, sirs.
Obviously if you’re a ready-meal enthusiast, picking your own is not for you. It does require going out, finding some tasty leaves, gathering them up and bringing them home. However, as well as usually getting to go on a nice walk, it’s surprising how much you can gather in a small amount of time. In a ninety-minute walk from Combe Down in Bath to the charming Tucking Mill (victim of many a name-alteration), on Sunday, I collected a huge bag of green things to take home, including these beauties below.
Smart kids don’t go to the supermarket when they can go old-school (pre-industrial school?) and collect goodies from their nearest friendly forest (parks/patches of grass on laybys/windowboxes accepted also).