Alysia Vasey is better known as The Yorkshire Forager, supplying the UK’s top restaurants. She is the regular forager on James Martin’s Saturday Show and has appeared on Countryfile, as well as in many other national newspapers and magazines.
Her amazing story was featured in her book, The Yorkshire Forager – A Wild Food Survival Journey which was published earlier this year and she now also has her own foraged gin.
Here’s her year round advice for anyone who would like to try foraging for themselves..
“The foraging season runs from March until October as, not surprisingly. There’s nothing to find in the cold winter months.
“In March when the light becomes more dominant over the darkness, the first signs of wild garlic will appear in the places which get the light first.
“If you’re living in the south it will be out in February and In Scotland, the end of March. The glossy leaves of wild garlic are a wonderful thing and is the plant that keeps on giving.
The white flowers have a wonderful mild garlic flavour and the capers from the flowers pack a huge punch for something so small. From March to June it is abundant in wooded areas and along riverbanks.
“Later on in spring be on the look out around St George’s day for St George’s Mushrooms, these white mushrooms with fine gills smell really distinctively of freshly ground flour and will be found in abundance on the edges of woods or in grassy areas in troops and rings.
They are very reliable and will come up year after year, be careful to pick a few. It’s a good time of year for white mushrooms as the deadlier ones come out later on but always have a field guide handy.
“In early summer between the months of June and July you will start to get the first girolles through in mossy woodland, these will go on virtually until winter and the first ones are always wonderful to pick, an egg yolk yellow colour with gills feeding down the stalks. While you are there look out for wood sorrel, often with pink or white stalks.
“It’s a small white flower, this packs a lemony punch and in some areas there is enough to keep you going till autumn. It works really well eaten with meat or fish. The leaves are a vivid bright green and have a look of clover about them.
The first of the summer fruits will also be coming out around this time and wild strawberries are easily identifiable, just steer clear of the ones growing around the paths.
“In late summer we see the moorlands bursting with bilberries, these incredible wild berries native of the blueberry are in abundance on the sub arctic moorland. Use a proper berry picker and you will have oodles of berries in no time at all.
In the woodlands the raspberries will be out, look for black berry bushes and you will see the taller canes of raspberries often overlooked but really delicious. Wild cherries are out now too and not to be missed.
“In early autumn we will see meadow favourites, the giant puffball, appear along with all types of Boletes now. These types of mushrooms have spores not gills and are easy to identify even though there are many different types within the species. The best are Ceps, Orange Birch Boletes and Slippery Jacks.
“In late autumn mainly October – the walnuts and sweet chestnuts will be ready, best to go after a windy night to get the best freshest chestnuts before the chestnut weevil drills a hole in them and ruins them all. Look out for all the varieties of crab apples too these make the best apple sauces and jellies.
“Happy foraging!” The Yorkshire Forager gin is available at www.poeticlicensedistillery.co.uk. The Yorkshire Forager A Wild Food Survival Journey is published by Headline and is available from all leading book outlets.
We humans have tree-climbing arms. Anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts described to us the impact of our arboreal history on our bodies.
“While our legs have lengthened over the course of human evolution,” she said, “and our feet have become adapted for weight-bearing our arms and hands are still very much those of a treeclimbing ape. We have extremely mobile shoulders how many other mammals can reach their hands up behind their backs?”… to read more click HERE
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