How to harvest hedgerow ingredients
There’s very much a local vibe these days when it comes to sourcing food.
But despite us all trying to frequent farmers’ markets and farm shops, shop at the local sustainable stores and to grow our own produce, there is an even easier option we’re all ignoring – wild food.
With some care for what you’re picking and eating, and maintaining excellent levels of hygiene, you can dine out on your doorstep from now onwards for free.
Instead of waging war on your garden weeds the ultimate revenge is to harvest and eat them!
We tend to link harvest time with the autumn but there are plenty of wild options available now, such as nettle shoots and dandelions, and you don’t need to live in the countryside to cash in.
Towpaths and footpaths are often fruitful hunting grounds but take care in areas where dogs walk and be conscious of vegetation that grows close to roadways as, while lead dust is no longer a threat, it can be dangerous picking close to busy and fast-moving traffic lanes.
Legally wild produce belongs to the landowner, so if you walk on private land you do need permission. The law does accept that you can harvest lightly while out for a general walk though. Public access and footpaths are fine but you must not pick protected species such as wild primroses. It may be tempting to do so as lots of hedgerow flowers can be delicious in salads but stick with more common varieties.
Remember not to overdo your picking as wildlife relies on nature’s larder too.
Look out for wild strawberries, raspberries and elderflowers all coming to a hedgerow near you soon but also take extra, extra care with any mushrooms you might find and please if in any doubt don’t eat them.
Although it seems a little scaredy cat, we avoid all wild fungi at all costs!