range of beautiful and surprising fungi, as well as quite a number of edible ones. The photo above shows some of our favourites - cep, bay bolete, cauliflower fungus, cow bolete, amethyst deceiver, brown birch bolete and orange birch bolete. Another favourite, and there are a lot to choose from, is the prickly hedgehog mushroom - see our Blogs for more information on this delicious mushroom. The important thing to remember when foraging for wild mushrooms is that it is essential that you are 100% certain that you know for sure which fungi you have picked - check each one too as it is all to easy to slip a look-a-like poisonous mushroom into your basket by mistake.
There are a number of way of preserving mushrooms including drying, freezing or pickling - mushroom soup can be made in batches and popped in the freezer. Why not try making your own mushroom ketchup? Drying works better for some mushrooms than others so it is best to research the best preserving method for the mushrooms you have.
Berries and Seeds
The hedgerows are full of all sorts of edible wild foods at this time of year including blackberries, elderberries, hawthorn berries, rose hips and sloes for example. Most people are familiar with blackberry jam, elderberry wine or sloe gin but there are so many uses for foraged berries, e.g:-
+ Hawthorn berry ketchup
+ Fruit leathers
+ Rose hip and crab apple jelly .....
...... there are so many different ways of preserving wild fruits for the dark winter months.
There are also a range of edible seeds that can be dried and ground to add some wild spice to your autumn and winter recipes. Wild carrot, fennel and hogweed seeds are perhaps the most common but there are a number of other seeds that can add delicious flavours to your cooking.
Autumn Wild Food Recipes
Autumn Berry Bliss Cocktail 1 measure of blackberry whisky (see below) 1 measure of Cointreau or similiar orange flavoured spirit 1/2 measure of elderberry syrup (see below) Ice and lemonade to top up
Pour the whiskey, Cointreau and syrup into a cocktail shaker along with some ice. Shake to mix and pour into your favourite cocktail glass. Top up with lemonade to taste and pop 2 or 3 blackberries into the glass. Enjoy!
Blackberry Whisky This superb recipe for Blackberry Whisky came from 'The River Cottage Booze' book by John Wright and can be found online at https://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/blackberry-whisky Don't let the whisky element put you off, the blackberries change the taste to something fruity and mellow rather than earthy and harsh.
Elderberry Syrup Pick around 20 elderberry heads or bunches. Remove all but the tiniest stalks from the berries and place in a saucepan, adding just enough cold water to cover the berries. Simmer gently with the lid on until the berries are very soft (about 30 minutes). Strain through a jelly bag into a jug or bowl and leave to drip overnight. The next day measure the amount of liquid in the bowl. For every 600ml of juice measure out 450g of sugar and 10 whole cloves. Put all three into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until all the sugar as dissolved. Boil for 10 mins and then leave until cold. Freeze in ice cube trays or small sterilized bottles. The syrup is a lovely addition to many drinks including squash or wine.