Catherine Morgan finds out how foraging can teach children (and adults) about more than nature’s store cupboard, and can foster an understanding of and respect for the environment.
When Adele Nozedar’s book Foraging with Kids landed on my desk I was rather excited. I have always wanted to try my hand at foraging — and even better if I can share the experience with my boys. However, whilst my enthusiasm is plentiful, my confidence isn’t, and concerns about safety, pollution, bugs and animal waste have thus far thwarted any long-held foraging ambitions. And I know the boys would be keen — they have had loads of fun picking (and sneakily eating) strawberries and raspberries from a local PYO (pick you own) and blackberries from a nearby bush (the closest I have come to wild edibles), and have always given a sticky, red thumbs up at the end, especially if they know said berries are destined for a crumble.
So, it felt that the time was right to branch out and conquer any foraging fears. But where to begin? Food writer and forager Nozedar had the following advice for any nervous novices. “Start with something they already know and which is easy to find — especially if it’s in the garden,” she says. “Cleavers [stickyweed], daisies, dandelions — the closest and simplest plants are always the most useful.” She also tells me to let them go at their own pace, with my guidance. And importantly, not to let them eat anything I’m unsure of.
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