As a long time forager, starting with wild rasps and blackberries when aged 5 in some hedgerows at the back of my grandparent’s house in Aberdeenshire, I was then introduced to Perthshire’s wild mushroom wilderness by an Italian colleague when working at the 5 star Gleneagles Hotel. My favourite time of the year for foraging is right about now; with berries still to be got and wild mushroom season upon us. My fascination for nature’s true larder continues to grow and it is perfect timing that in co-operation with Reforesting Scotland a guide has been produced ‘A Handbook of Scotland’s Wild Harvests’ (£12.99).
As a contributor to this fantastic book I can assure you it will get you started in finding plants from fields, woods, and seashores. As well as food plants, it covers some basic medicinal herbs, craft materials, and garden supplies that can be sustainably foraged, and has a detailed chapter on firewood and how to run a wood stove. Food recipes with a distinct Scottish flavour, from nettle haggis to blueberry muffins, abound and the emphasis throughout is on safe and responsible harvesting. The most nutritious species in Scotland are usually common, so the wild
represents a real resource, particularly during the late spring, or ‘hungry gap’ when local vegetables are scarce.
I imagine by now you may be feeling a little peckish so how about this to whet your appetite? If you love the idea of picking out in the ‘wild’, mushrooms are on your hit list and you want a trusted guide why not join us on our one day ‘Tasting Coastal Fife’ Tour on Saturday 6th Oct 2012. The tour leaves from Edinburgh and includes a 2 hour session foraging with our resident Fife Wild Mushroom expert, Tony Wilson.
This tour like the others in our range gives you a behind-the-scenes, special insight into award winning artisanal producers/growers, or perhaps a fine example of a fresh food farmers market or other food/drink specialists (including of course all the gorgeous tastings). To ensure you never leave us hungry you will also be treated to a gourmet lunch with wine. Luxury chauffeur-driven transportation throughout the day, a ‘yours
to enjoy hospitality basket’ and like-minded fellow passengers come as
standard! This is one tour where it really doesn’t matter whether the weather is behaving or not!
The wild mushroom season of course doesn’t last forever (I went out today and got a sustainably foraged harvest for dinner with a few foodie friends and it’s best for ‘health & safety’ reasons you go with someone who is on first name terms with all things mushrooms & funghi. (We don’t blindfold you either – the location is not top secret – so you can go back as many times as you like!).
Tastefully yours, ‘another very satisfied wild customer’ Brenda