Guide to Foraging in the UK during the Summer
Updated: Jul 14
Embarking on a foraging journey in the UK during the summer is an extraordinary way to immerse yourself in nature, unleash your inner explorer, and uncover a treasure trove of edible delights. The verdant landscapes of the UK offer a diverse range of wild foods waiting to be discovered and savoured. From vibrant berries to fragrant flowers and earthy mushrooms, the summer season unveils a plethora of natural culinary wonders.
This guide is designed to assist you in navigating the world of foraging in the UK during the summer months. As you venture into the great outdoors, you'll learn about the edible treasures that can be found and the optimal times to harvest them. But remember, foraging isn't just about filling your basket with delicious finds; it's also about respecting nature, practicing sustainability, and developing a deeper connection with the land.
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Before you embark on your foraging expedition, it's crucial to acquaint yourself with important safety considerations. Foraging responsibly, obtaining permission from landowners, accurate plant identification, and avoiding contaminated areas are all essential aspects of a successful and safe foraging experience.
Now, let us delve into the enchanting world of foraging in the UK during the summer season. Discover the bounty of wild foods available, learn about their ideal harvesting times, and embark on a journey of culinary exploration amidst the beauty of the natural world. With every step, you'll not only nourish your body but also nourish your soul with the wonders of the UK's edible wilderness.
Foraging during the summer months in the UK offers a bountiful array of edible wild foods.
Perfect for carrying your haul of foraged food, buy handmade willow baskets and trugs.
Wild Food available in the Summer
Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum): Wild garlic reaches its peak in May. Look for its distinctive white flowers and pungent aroma in woodlands and shaded areas.
St George mushrooms (Calocybe gambosa): St George mushrooms are a prized edible delicacy with a distinctive nutty flavour, make their appearance in late spring, typically from April to June, providing a delightful addition to seasonal dishes for fortunate foragers.
Nettles (Urtica dioica): While available throughout the year, young nettle tops are at their best in spring and early summer, usually May.
Hawthorn leaves (Crataegus monogyna): Hawthorns are rich in both folklore and medicinal properties, are best foraged in spring when they are young and tender, usually available from April to June, offering a unique flavour to teas and salads.
Dandelion flowers (Taraxacum officinale): Dandelions with their vibrant yellow petals, grace the spring landscape, available from March through May, offering a versatile and nutritious addition to culinary creations. Harvest the tender leaves for use in soups, teas, or as a cooked green.
Elderflowers (Sambucus nigra): Elderflowers are delicate and fragrant, they can be found in late spring, typically from May to June, adding a touch of floral elegance to beverages, to make elderflower champagne, desserts, and preserves.
Wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca): Look for wild strawberries in woodlands, hedgerows, and meadows during June. These small, delicious berries are perfect for adding to salads, desserts, ice cream or enjoying on their own.
Wild cherries (Prunus avium): Wild cherries are nature's sweet treasures, they grace the UK countryside in late spring and early summer, usually from June to July, inviting foragers to indulge in their juicy and flavourful abundance.
Wild fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): Wild fennel, with its aromatic fronds and distinctive anise-like flavour, thrives in the UK during late spring and early summer, offering a taste of the Mediterranean from May to July for eager foragers.
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum): The fragrant flowers of honeysuckle bloom in July and continue into August. Sip the nectar from the base of the flowers for a delightful taste of summer.
St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum): This herb blooms in July and can be found in grasslands and meadows. The yellow flowers can be used to make herbal infusions or infused oils.
Marsh samphire (Salicornia spp.): Marsh samphire also known as sea asparagus, is a sought-after coastal delicacy that can be foraged during the summer months, typically available from June to August, providing a unique briny taste and crisp texture to seafood dishes.
Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus): The end of July marks the beginning of blackberry season. These sweet and juicy berries can be found in hedgerows, woods, and even urban areas. They are perfect for jams, desserts, pies, or enjoyed fresh.
Chanterelle mushrooms (Cantharellus cibarius): August is a great time to search for chanterelle mushrooms in woodlands, particularly near birch trees. Look for their distinctive golden colour and fruity aroma.
Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus): Also known as wild blueberries, bilberries ripen in August. They are found in moorlands, heathlands, and acidic soils. Enjoy them fresh, in jams, cheesecakes or baked into delicious treats.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria): Meadowsweet flowers continue to bloom into August, offering their sweet scent and delicate flavour for making syrups, cordials, or infusing into teas.
Wild Mint (Mentha arvensis): Wild mint can still be found in damp areas during August. Its leaves can be used for teas, flavouring drinks, or adding a refreshing touch to salads and desserts.
Elderberries (Sambucus nigra): Elderberries are ready for harvest in late summer, usually in August. They can be used for making jams, jellies, or even elderberry wine.
Rosehips (Rosa spp.): As summer transitions to autumn, rosehips become ripe and ready for harvest. These vitamin C-rich fruits can be used in the classic rosehip slice, for herbal teas, syrups, jellies, or fermented into rosehip wine.
Hazelnuts (Corylus avellana): Hazelnuts begin to ripen in September, and you can find them in woodlands and hedgerows. Enjoy them roasted or use them in baking for a delightful nutty flavour.
Damsons (Prunus domestica subsp. insititia): Damsons, a type of small plum, are ready for picking in September. They can be used for making jams, preserves, or even in baking.
Remember to always consult a reliable field guide or an experienced forager to ensure accurate identification of wild plants and mushrooms. Enjoy the adventure of foraging in the UK during the summer months and savour the diverse flavours and culinary possibilities that nature provides.
Below is an expanded guide that includes additional wild foods available, along with the months when they are typically in season.
Learn about more wild foods that are in season now with our UK Foraging Calendar.
As you conclude your foraging adventure in the UK during the summer, you'll reflect on the incredible abundance of edible treasures that nature provides. From the delicate sweetness of wild strawberries to the tantalising aroma of chanterelle mushrooms, the experience of foraging connects you intimately with the natural world and the seasons.
Beyond the tangible rewards of a basket filled with wild foods, foraging will gift you with a deeper appreciation for the UK's landscapes and ecosystems. You will witness the delicate cycles of nature, the interplay of species, and the interconnectedness of all living things. This connection nurtures not only your body but also your spirit, reminding you of the harmony and beauty that exist in the natural world.
As you bring your foraged treasures to the kitchen, the true joy of foraging is unleashed. You transform your harvest into delectable culinary creations, infusing your meals with the essence of the land and the season. With every bite, you can savour the flavours that can only be found in the wild, a testament to the power of nature's pantry.
So, as you conclude your foraging expedition, take a moment to cherish the memories, the flavours, and the lessons learned. Carry the spirit of foraging with you, not only in the summer but in every season, as you continue to explore the rich tapestry of the UK's natural abundance.
More Seasonal Guides
Embark on a journey through the UK's wild seasons and learn what to forage whatever the time of the year with these useful guides:
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