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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Foraging challenge

I'm a little wary of blogging challenges, but I spotted one that appeals to me: A one-food-a-week foraging challenge. The idea is to eat a different foraged food each week.


I first saw this about a year ago on a blog - can't find it now - which started off with much enthusiasm for a few weeks, then fizzled out. I thought it quite likely that I'd do the same, so I made notes of forageable plants throughout last year to see whether I'd be in with a reasonable chance of completing the challenge this year. I didn't get 52, but I wrote down enough to convince me the challenge is do-able, and the list will give me a head start, too.

Note that this challenge is about eating something different each week. I'll allow myself stored foods provided that I told you about them at the time of harvesting. You'll notice also that I'm not starting this on 1st Jan. I think January could be a tough month for harvesting, so I'll leave that to the end of the challenge and hope to have enough preserved food by then to see me through. In any case, I think January's a lousy month for starting the year; the beginning of February feels much more like the start of the year to me.

When I say something different what does that mean? Well since this is my challenge, I'll make my own rules. Different parts of the same plant count as different foods, e.g. dandelion leaves are different from dandelion flowers, but different uses of the same part just count as one, e.g. dandelion flower fritters and dandelion flower wine count as the same wild food. The foods I gather will probably be mostly plants, but might include other things too. I hope I'll be able to find some mushrooms, but I'm not sure how to go about looking for them. Since I live near the sea, I'd also like to try shellfish, and seaweed too, come to that. I doubt I'll include anything capable of running away, though.

Ideally I'd like this to be local food, i.e. found within a few miles of my home. However, I do visit people in other parts of the UK and sometimes there's good foraging to be had in those places (e.g. I picked sloes when I visited my sister in Sussex last autumn because there weren't any around here). I've decided to allow foraging in foreign parts within this challenge.

I think that's about the size of it. I'll post each week, on Fridays for the sake of alliteration, with a description of the food I'm eating that week, where and when I harvested it, and how I prepared it for eating. This means that for preserved foods I'll be telling you how to preserve them at a time when the information is completely useless. You'll just have to take note for next year! I'll also include a list of anything else I'm harvesting and/or eating from the wild that week and because the boundary between wild and cultivated foods can get a bit blurred, especially in my garden, I'll include all garden-grown foods in that list.

Oh yes, one more thing: It would be really nice if people could suggest things that are in season that I might try the following week. Hopefully suggestions in the comments will become part of this series of posts.

I'll maintain a separate page with a summary of the rules of the game and a list of links to all the posts, so everything will be in one place. Since the 1st of February happens to be a Friday, I'll start tomorrow, and put up the summary page at the same time.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds good! I've just read a post on sauteed daisy greens that sounded really tasty and the photo looked good too.

    I don't have a blog but I've been thinking I really ought to forage more seriously this year- I may join in in the comments, if that's okay? Last year we didn't even eat many nettles, which is unusual, so I need some inspiration.

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    1. Oh yes, please do join in! Tell me what you've foraged each week. I look forward to comparing notes.

      I'm not sure daisy made it onto my list last year (I had heard that they're edible, but haven't tried them yet), so that's already a new one for me!

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    2. I remember feeding the flowers to my younger brothers aged about 12 having been given a childhood book of my mothers that had a section on wild food. My interest in foraging started early!
      The daisies were apparently okay but they weren't impressed with my attempts to make acorns taste pleasant and I think they may have rebelled after that...

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    3. Acorns are on my to-try list. I hope I have more success making the palatable than you did!

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  2. Sounds interesting, I am in another hemisphere but I will be keen to see how you go with this challenge.

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    1. The number of times I've read about some interesting plant that grows abundantly by the roadsides, only to realise that the roadsides in question are on another continent! Still, it's interesting to see which plants do crop up across the world.

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