A walk through the woods is a gift in itself. As a forager, you may just return with a few more delectable treasures.
Enjoying the fruits of the harvest is synonymous with autumn. All those delicious apples, squashes, gourds, and lots more really come into their own. But there’s a whole other side to nature’s bounty, one that isn’t planted and cultivated in the same way. Something a little wilder…
The Swedes, and indeed most Scandinavians, are very used to foraging in forests, fields and coastlines for delicious morsels to take home and enjoy. In fact, Swedish law protects this time-honoured tradition as a right of Swedish heritage. “Allemansrätten”, or “all men’s right”, allows you to pick wild fruits and mushrooms from any wood, meadow or field.
There are a few common-sense restrictions, but as you’d expect from laid-back Swedes, they’re founded on mutual respect between foragers and land owners. There’s an understanding that trees won’t be cut down, nor twigs broken, and that no one will take too much, depleting natural resources.
Field to table
So what are the best things to forage? In both Scandinavia and the UK, the options are fairly similar: berries, mushrooms and leaves to use in salads or even in tea.
In Sweden, you’d be looking for lingonberries, elderberries and blueberries. Closer to home, you
might focus on wild raspberries and blueberries, with some elderberries or rosehips if you’re lucky. Stew your fruit for crumbles and puddings, or make jams and jellies to enjoy through the seasons.
It’s all about the Chanterelles in Scandinavia. These tasty mushrooms pop up in big, wild clumps after heavy rain. They’re less widespread in the UK, but other mushroom varieties like ceps can
often be found in early autumn. Just make sure you have a handy guide to what’s edible and what’s not!
Botanicals and leaves
Spruce up a salad with dandelion leaves, or make nettle leaf tea. You might even find some evening primrose to sprinkle over vegetables or add to a medicinal cup.
Not quite ready to forage for food?
Try foraging for wildflowers and berries instead. Arrange them as a centrepiece on the dining table or in gorgeous candle lanterns for an autumnal style update to your home.