Autumn Foraging Foods
Autumn is upon us and this is a great time for Foraging. Foraging for Autumn Foraging Foods and the ability to Forage is a great skill for Survivalists and Prepper’s alike. Foraging can also be great money saving skill for Sustainability Prepper’s … seems pointless to pay for produce in the supermarkets when it can be found growing wild for free !
Hazelnuts are amongst my favourite Autumn Foraging Foods. With Hazelnuts you need to be quick to beat the Squirrels to this great tasting nut. Rich in Protein, Fat and Flavour, hazelnuts make a great snack and can be used in cooking. The nuts always grow under the leaves so can often be overlooked. You can eat them when the shells are still green, if they have a developed nut inside, these are really tasty, and sold as ‘cobnuts’ in the UK. You can also dry nuts in a dry dark place or in a dehydrator, then use them dry or roast them.
Once you become aware of your surroundings, you’ll notice there’s apple trees everywhere. As a Survival food it’s ideal as you can simply pick them and eat them or they can be stored for a number of weeks. For the sustainability prepper’s apples have many uses from cooking in pies, made into cider and wine or peeled, cored, chopped and frozen for future use.
There are many different types of Apples available but general rule of thumb is if it tastes a bit sour and is quite large it’s probably a cooking apple, so save these for pies. If it’s tasty and palatable, it’s an eater, and if it’s small, sour and astringent, puckering your mouth, it will be a crab apple and best used making wine.
The blackberry or bramble likes to colonise open spaces in tangled thickets. The first fruit to ripen is at the end of each cane and these tend to be the most sweet and plump.
As a change to making pies, jam and bramble jelly, try making blackberry wine or blackberry whisky.
During the Second World War, Rose hips were widely used as a replacement for citrus fruits, they where widely collected and made into syrup for flavouring foods. Rose hips are typically found in hedgerows, rough grass and scrub. The leaves grow in pairs of toothed leaflets, the flowers are pink or white, and the fruit is orange-red and oblong shaped. Watch out for thorns and be sure to remove the inner seeds. Rose hips can be used for herbal teas, jam, jelly, syrup, rose hip soup, beverages, pies, bread, wine, and marmalade. They can also be eaten raw, like a berry, if care is used to avoid the hairs inside the fruit.
Beech Nuts can be found in plentiful supply in Britain and Ireland, Continental Europe, North America and even Asia. The Beechnuts themselves can be found in small burrs that drop from the tree in autumn. The Beechnuts have a high fat content and can be pressed for edible oil. In addition, fresh from the tree, beech leaves in spring are a fine salad vegetable, as sweet as a mild cabbage though much softer in texture.
Another readily available example of Autumn Foraging Foods and sometimes snubbed because of its mealy texture, hawthorn fruit makes spectacular liqueurs, jellies, fruit sauce, chutney and even a very bitter coffee. While you’re enjoying the rosy colour and gentle sweetness of this late summer and early fall fruit, you may also be getting some health benefits: hawthorn has a long history of use as an herbal medicine for the heart, especially for arrhythmia. It is useful for both high and low blood pressure, acting as a balancing tonic.
Look for hawthorn on open hillsides, near pastures and stream banks. It is also widely planted as an ornamental in city parks.
Blackthorn, Sloe Berry
The Sloe Berry is the fruit of the Blackthorn bush and is found in abundance in Europe, Eastern United States and the Pacific Northwest. Sloes are too bitter and sour to eat raw, but taste superb when preserved. They have an intense plum taste. Flavour them with orange zest, cloves, cinnamon or almond essence. Preserve them as sloe gin, sloe wine, sloe jelly, sloe syrup, and sloe plum cheese. A spoonful of sloe jelly can be added to plum pies or used in sponge cakes.
Traditionally, sloes used for sloe gin are picked after the first frost as this helps the alcohol to permeate the fruit. Alternatively prick each fruit with a darning needle, or spread them out on a baking tray and leave in the freezer for a couple of hours to simulate frost.
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