The Suffolk Coast has well and truly established itself as foodie destination.
It’s all here - farmers markets, food & drink festivals, fabulous fresh fish and seafood to rural pubs and top notch restaurants. The Suffolk Coast is a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike when searching out delicious food and produce.
But what about free food? Food that you can search for and gather yourself…
Foraging for food is in our DNA. That’s what our ancestors did before turning their hand to farming and looking after livestock.
And the hedgerows, byways, woods and water around here offer an abundance of foraging opportunities.
During summer plants store up goodness and energy in their fruit and berries. So autumn is just the right time to get out in the fresh air, take in all the changing colours and start foraging.
Look out for blackberries, rose hips, crab apples, rowan and damson.
Blackberries grow in abundance on The Suffolk Coast – some of the best can be found on the site of disused railway lines as well as along our country lanes. Great fruit to mix with apples for crumbles or just served together. And bramble jelly makes a delicious change from strawberry jam.
Rose-hips are packed full of vitamin C and make a lovely syrup or jelly. They blend really well with almonds, cardamom, ginger and lemon.
At this time of year you’ll see crab apple trees dotted along many of our roads. These ‘wildings’ don’t have thorns like their cultivated cousins so are easy to pick. Crab apples are high in pectin which means when made into a jelly it sets well. This lovely orange coloured jelly goes well with roast pork.
Rowan berries are quite tart and are often mixed with crab apples to make a jelly – the crab apples helping the low pectin rowan to set.
Damsons are a type of plum but generally smaller. Again, great for making jams but also excellent in a tart.
And no foraging trip would be complete without mushrooms. There are around 15000 types of wild fungi in the UK. Quite a number of these are poisonous and will make you ill if eaten or can be fatal!
If in any doubt at all, don’t eat mushrooms that you find when out foraging.
The red berries of the hawthorn are great for making jam and the leaves (in spring) are excellent in salads. In fact the whole tree has health benefits too – it’s high in antioxidants and can help to regulate blood pressure.
So, with a bit of research and maybe a foraging course under your belt you’ll be able to enjoy a fruitful foraging trip here on The Suffolk Coast.