Why we’re going wild for foraging: As influencers show how to save a fortune by gathering free food (without breaking the law)…
- Influencer Fern Freud is teaching people to forage for mushrooms and berries
- The 30-year-old runs workshops in West Sussex on rooting out edible plants
Influencers are teaching people how to forage for mushrooms, berries and herbs – saving them hundreds of pounds in grocery bills as the cost-of-living crisis bites.
Although winter doesn’t offer the best pickings, some nuts and berries can be found as well as black trumpet mushrooms that retail for £5.99 per 30 grams and chanterelle mushrooms that cost £7.99 per 40 grams.
West Sussex-based foraging influencer Fern Freud, 30, runs workshops and classes teaching people how to root out edible plants as well as cook and preserve them.
Candied rosehip berries, elderberry balsamic glaze and sweet pear and chestnut tarts are some of the seasonal ‘wild recipes’ she recommends on her Instagram page and in her upcoming book Wild Magic.
Fern’s Instagram account, ForagedbyFern, has more than 100,000 followers while her TikTok videos have received just under 500,000 likes
Fern’s Instagram account, ForagedbyFern, has more than 100,000 followers while her TikTok videos have received just under 500,000 likes.
In season, the burgeoning businesswoman also offers truffle-hunting workshops with trained dogs when customers are invited to sample freshly foraged truffles and enjoy a delicious lunch with ‘plenty of truffle shavings’.
Fern said: ‘While I was at university I didn’t have a lot of money and foraging taught me to find delicious foods for free that would otherwise cost huge amounts in organic markets and high-end stores.’
Meanwhile, former Michelin star cook and MasterChef contestant Christian Amys, 40, has founded UrbanForage, a business that offers foraging workshops to customers for between £15-£80.
People are taught to ethically and legally gather food before the French-trained chef prepares a meal using the foraged ingredients. Acorns, red pepper dulse and the three-cornered leek are some of the foods foragers might discover in January and February.
Bloody Marys made with the stem of an Alexander plant – similar to celery – and leek and potato soup made from the leek are some of the winter recipes he enjoys.
The 30-year-old teaches people how to root out, cook and preserve the best edibles
Christian has almost 100,000 followers on TikTok and his videos have earned him over 350,000 likes. He said: ‘Seeing foraging ingredients in professional kitchens sparked my passion for foraging. Fifty per cent of the food I now eat is foraged, which I top up with a few bits of bought-food: mainly meat, some tins, sauces and spices.
‘Herbs – particularly wild marjoram and parsley – I no longer buy because I can get them for free in nature.
‘My clients tell me they don’t buy samphire any more because it’s so expensive – £5 for a punnet.
‘Why pay that when you can forage it for free?’
Fresh food inflation hit 15 per cent in December, up from 14.3 per cent in November, according to the British Retail Consortium.
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