A guide to foraging

A guide to foraging

Experienced forager and owner of Naked Jam, Jen Williams shares her top tips for successful foraging.

Where to look: You often don't need to look far to find somewhere to forage. Just on the road outside my house alone there are Rowan berry trees and crab apple trees. Other good places to look are parks and farms (ask permission first). Try to avoid picking on busy roads as the fumes contaminate the fruit.

Go prepared: Wear long sleeves and long trousers. Take gloves and wear suitable shoes. Taking a picnic is a good idea as once you've started picking you won't want to stop!

When to pick: Avoid picking during the rain as it changes the taste of the fruit. The best time to pick is after the dew has gone and before sunset. Only pick if you are confident you know what you are picking.

Rules: There are some unwritten rules which all good foragers respect. Avoid picking anywhere that may be over foraged. Don't take all of the fruit from a bush and remember there are insects and other wildlife who need to access this natural larder and not just you! Please do not forage too hard as it can threaten the existence of many plants.

What to pick now: September is great for blackberries, wild plums damsons, cherry plums, rowan berries, elderberries, poppy seeds, rose hips, wild strawberries, apples, beach nuts, wild raspberries and this year in some places the hawthorn berry is ready.

Jen forages for the exclusive New Forest hotel, Chewton Glen.

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