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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

wildcrafting autumn harvest



I didn't get this written up several months ago when we actually did the harvesting, but here it finally is! This bounty was all harvested on a family adventure one day in late September 2015. We're now in January 2016, but better late than never, right?

Did you know there was such abundance to be found in England? And this isn't even close to the potential of wild growing goodness we could have brought home that day! Pictured here are apples of various sizes, a glass bowl of sloe berries (from the blackthorn tree), the smallest basket of large red rose hips, the middlish basket of smaller red hawthorn berries (from the hawthorn tree), elderberries, and a wagon of walnuts.

Throughout autumn and summer last year, I also wild harvested many more elderberries and elderflowers, blackberries, sloe berries, horseradish root, plantain weed, plantain seeds (much like chia seeds and good for eating), poppy seeds, comfrey weed, dandelion, red clover tops, apples, hazel nuts, celeriac, chamomile. Now that it is winter, I can think about heading to the woods with a spade and basket for some blackberry roots, dandelion roots, more horseradish, and anything else interesting I can find before dormant plants come back to life in the spring.

Find yourself some books on plants. Many are available for regions all over the world. Learn to recognise what free medicine and food you can collect while you're out on walks. Get in the habit this year of taking a plastic bag and a folding knife in a pocket so that you can harvest whatever goodness you might unexpectedly find. Make sure to harvest judiciously, not stripping the wild but leaving enough seeds, roots, or leaves for the plants to keep growing as healthily as you found them.

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