How to forage for wild food

With many of us having spent large amounts of the last year exploring our local countryside, finding food grown in the wild has also become a popular pastime.

More people have given it a go from gathering wild garlic in the spring and searching out garlic mustard for salads to harvesting blackberries or sloes in the late summer.

Foraging has been steadily rising in popularity as it connects us to the seasons and the outdoors. It’s the very antidote to processed food and a good way of boosting our health.

There is a wide variety of food you can search for in the wild including nuts, seeds, and fruits. For those new to foraging though it’s important to first go out with people that know where to look and what to look out for.

The School of Artisan Food offers the chance to do just that. Our one-day Foraging and Wild Food Cookery courses provide the opportunity to explore the grounds of the rural estate of Welbeck with professional forager, James Wood.

James will show you the vast array of wild edible ingredients that can be found in the outdoors, and teach you how to identify species and how to use them within a variety of recipes and dishes.

You’ll get the chance to harvest your own wild and fresh ingredients from around the estate before heading back to the school, where there will be cooking demonstrations and tasters of foraged ingredients.

A big fan of foraging for some time is Ricky Stephenson, head chef at Welbeck estate’s very own Harley CaféI love foraging and experimenting with the freshest of ingredients in recipes. It is about looking for what’s in season and I look forward to seeing the seasonal changes.”

It was through a course at The School of Artisan Food some years ago that he developed an interest in foraging. He now enjoys finding fresh ingredients in the wild to add to the recipes he cooks up in The Harley Café.

“I enjoy looking out for the ingredients in the wild and then finding a use for them in a dish,” added Ricky. “Wild garlic is really versatile. It has a fresh, chive-like flavour and the leaves can be enjoyed raw or cooked. The flowers can simply be added to a spring salad. There’s lots to find in the wild if you know what to look for and when to look for it,” added Ricky. “It’s also good for us. Seasonal food is always more nutritious as produce holds more nutrients when it’s fresh.”