Look out of the window. Go for a walk. It’s hard to escape, but spring is well and truly here. This is the start of the new foraging season, where food is simply sprouting from the nearest hedgerow or field.

What is foraging?

Foraging is finding free food that is growing by the roadside, along a hedgerow, or in a field. It is using this to supplement your daily diet or have something different for dinner. These can be fruits and berries, nuts, roots, and mushrooms.

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How to make the most of this abundance

Start the new season with some fun homemade gifts that you can make in jars using what’s growing from the hedgerow. This is a great way to start a new hobby or keep your child busy with something practical but still fun and creative.

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The following are some favourite foraged foods.

1) Sloe Gin

Okay, this isn’t a spring recipe, but it does take time to make. So if you started last year in autumn, your Sloe Gin should about be ready. If, however, you don’t want to wait, you can choose from a range of gin gift-set ideas.

2) Wild Garlic & Nettle Pesto

Both Nettles and Wild Garlic are abundant in the spring. You can even find these in your own garden. Together they make a fabulous pesto that is ideal as a side dish for fish or pasta. This unusual gift will surprise any foodies in your social group.

3) Fennel & Dandelion Slaw

Finally, here is a use for dandelions found in your garden lawn. If you are invited to a pot-luck dinner or BBQ, this fennel & dandelion slaw will be a welcome change from more traditional dishes.

4) Homemade jams

Jam is perfect as a gift and is simple to make. The ingredients are also very easy to find. Some favourites include:

  • sour cherry jam
  • rhubarb & ginger jam
  • Hedgerow jam
  • Raspberry & blueberry jam

5) Chutney

Cabbage, carrots, green beans, and beetroots are abundant in the spring. Chutney recipes are plentiful on the internet.

6) Elderflower Sparkling Wine

This is a firm favourite and is very easy to make. It takes about two weeks to ferment the wine and a couple more for the wine to age a little. Then you have a sparkling wine to enjoy throughout the summer.

7) Hand creams

Infused oils, beeswax, and skin creams can all be found in wild areas. Making your own hand cream or lip balm is easy to do, along with nice homemade packaging. You can even use natural dyes to decorate the packaging.

8) Wildberry chocolates

Fresh berries can also be used for making chocolate truffles or other homemade sweets. Look online for a recipe and make your own with ingredients from the hedgerow and garden.

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Foraging is a simple way to use nature’s bounty. Enjoy the time of the year when food is everywhere and can be used in simple ways that are new and surprising. Have fun!