EdibleBush

The Aromatic Joys of Foraging

It is slightly odd to talk about one blog inside another but the Guardian asked me a few months ago to write a weekly blog on homebrewing. A little daunting but fun - and the first regular job I have had since 1977.

It has spurred me on to more foraging though. Yesterday, pondering the prospect of some unusual beers, I took a trip to my favourite beach and collected a huge, and I mean huge, clump of Sugar Kelp. It is now hanging on the line to dry (well, actually, at the moment it is getting another wash). This will make a very unusual beer indeed - more details of how I get on later. I also collected some Rock Samphire (not to be confused with Marsh Samphire which is totally different). This is a difficult plant to use in the kitchen but maybe, just maybe, it will make a nice wine. I also found some Wormwood (from which Absinthe is made) and put that in the car as well. And then some Mugwort (an historic ale flavouring). I spotted some Elderflowers which had not gone over and collect them too.


I am a dangerous driverat the best of times as I am always looking out for interesting plants and any fungi as I drive. Yesterday I was worse than usual as I was nearly overcome by the smell. Wormwood smells like floor polish and cannabis, elderflowers are overpoweringly sweet, rock samphire is carrots and kerosene, and seaweed...

John Wright: 22nd Jun 2011 10:00:00



Foraging Courses with John

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A Letter to the New Forest Verderers

I knew something was rumbling in the undergrowth and in late July 2015, a journalist from the Bournemouth local paper asked me to respond to some surprising words delivered by my friend, Sarah Cadbury, to the Verderers of the New Forest. I duly responded. A day or two later, a journalist from the Times asked if I would write a 300 word rebuttal. On Saturday 25th I did a Google search on the story and found myself in the Daily Mail, The Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian. And not in a good way. The Verders were bystanders in this but I thought I owed them a letter. Here it is. The Verderer’s Court of the New Forest I am writing both to the Court and to the Forestry Commission on the subject of wild mushroom hunting in the Forest. It is my intention to copy this letter to othe...

Conservation part 2

This is the second part of what will now be a three part treatment of conservation and foraging. On this page I have adapted the section on conservation from my River Cottage Hedgerow Handbook. The third part will deal with the fungi. People can become very disquieted over the matter of conservation and foraging. Surely, they argue, we should not be taking things from the wild for our own purposes; surely nature has been injured by us enough without this further imposition. This is not an argument with which I have a great deal of sympathy. It is, of course, perfectly possible to forage in a manner that is damaging to the natural world, but it is not actually all that easy. Many of our native species are under threat but it is not from the forager. Invasive species take a toll of habit...

Books For Sale

The Naming of the Shrew (paperback edition)

Latin names - frequently unpronounceable, all too often wrong and always a tiny puzzle to unravel - have been annoying the layman since they first became formalised as scientific terms in the eighteenth century. Why on earth has the entirely land-loving Eastern Mole been named Scalopus aquaticus, or the Oxford Ragwort been called Senecio squalid...

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Mushrooms

In the first of an exciting new River Cottage Handbook series, mycologist John Wright explains the ins and outs of collecting, including relevant UK laws, conservation notes, practical tips and identification techniques. He takes us through the 72 species we are most likely to come across during forays in Britain’s forests and clearings: ...

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Seashore

In the fifth of the River Cottage Handbook series, John Wright reveals the rich pickings to be had on the seashore – and the team at River Cottage explain how to cook them to perfection. For the forager, the seashore holds surprising culinary potential. In this authoritative, witty book John Wright takes us on a trip to the seaside. But be...

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Hedgerow

Hedgerows, moors, meadows and woods – these hold a veritable feast for the forager. In this hugely informative and witty handbook, John Wright reveals how to spot the free and delicious ingredients to be found in the British countryside, and then how to prepare and cook them. First John touches on the basics for the hedgerow forager, with ...

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Booze

What could possibly beat a cool pint of beer down the pub or a lazy glass of wine at your favourite bar? The answer is: home-brewed beer or your very own brand of wine. With this, the twelfth in the River Cottage Handbook series, the inimitable John Wright shows exactly how easy it is to get started. You don't need masses of space to make alcoh...

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