Foraging- Sheffield haunts for local wild food
Foraging for wild food is an exciting way to get into the great outdoors with the double virtue of getting exercise and free food. If you do pick wild food make sure that you are accompanied by a knowledgeable person, have the permission of the land owner if the land is private and do not dig plants up. There is some good advice in the following pdf downloads or see our blog for recent exploits Click here for our PJ taste blog with lots of recent foraging stories and recipes
There are some excellent books we have used regularly to help identify wild foods. Here is a selection:
the forager handbook by Miles Irving, ISBN 978-0-09-191363-2
Edibler Wild Plants and Herbs by Pamela Michael, ISBN 1-904943-73-X
The Thrifty Forager by Alys Foeler, ISBN 978 1 85626 912 4
The Countryside Cookbook by Gail Duff, published by Sphere Books Ltd in 1982
Food for Free by Richard Mabey ISBN 10:0 00 220159 3
Edible Wild Plants by John kallas, I.800.835.4993
The Wild Flowers of the British Isles by Ian Garrard and text by David Streeter, ISBN 1 900732 03 3
THe Wild Flower Key by Francis Rose ISBN 978-0-7232-5175-0
Click here for our PJ taste blog with lots of recent foraging stories and recipes
Urban Forager Guide
Riverside Forager Guide
Here are some of PJ taste's favourite local excursions:
Wild Raspberries: Towards the end of June and into July wild raspberries can be gathered in many of the green areas around Sheffield. Mostly plants would have been seeded by birds from cultivated varieties but its still exciting to be able to pick exciting free food like this. One area to look is the Shire Brook valley an area about 6 km long to the East of Sheffield. The Brook flows almost due west to east and has formed an important boundary for at least a thousand years - in fact in Saxon times it divided the kingdoms of Mercia to the south and on the northern side Northumbria. Nowadays it is a tranquil back water with abundant wild flowers, lots of elder flower and some years quite prolific cherry trees.
Apples: Its amazing how many wild apple trees there are spread across Sheffield which give great harvests in the Autumn. These wild trees all have there own character producing apples of different varieties, sizes and tastes. Picking can involve some tree climbing perhaps with a grounded accomplice ideally who is also a good catcher! Look out this year for apples available to pick in your own area.
Beighton Orchard is on Robin Lane, Beighton (follow the footpath adjacent to Beighton Methodist Church for 30m, entrance to orchard through large stainless steel gates on left). A 0.3ha area land belonging to Sheffield City Council was turned into a community educational resource and wild life haven from 2004. There are plum, pear and damson tress along with varieties of apple including: Ellison’s orange, Bramley, Worcester Pearmain, Monarch, Annie Elizabeth, Charles Ross, Epicure, Laxton’s Superb, Fortune and Newton Wonder.
Fruit and Herb Syrups: PJ taste's Citrus Hits are based on infusions of Yorkshire herbs and fruits, essentially syrups of the relevant plant. You can add an extra dimension to desserts by using a home made syrup. An example would be a lavender infusion or you could try a Rosehip syrup. This would take a little foraging in the autumn when you can collect the rosehips from wild rose bushes in many areas of Sheffield. The syrup is made by grinding the rosehips and boiling with water before putting through a jelly bag to separate the flavoured liquid from the tough and whiskery hips. The liquid is then boiled with sugar to make the syrup which can be bottled and kept over the winter. Recipes for Rosehip syrup and information about other wild foods can be found in books such as: Richard Mabey’s Food for Free, ISBN 13:9780002201599.