The bulk of the year has slipped past us and were now entering (in my opinion) the most glorious time of the year!
The rest of the year disappears so quickly, but it’s worth taking some time to stop and enjoy autumn.
The colours, cool crisp air and above all harvesting the bounty that surrounds us at this time of year.
The hedgerows are bursting full of deliciius nuts, fruit and berries that largely get ignored by modern day famillies.
However, we love nothing more than enjoying a walk through the woods and lanes around our town taking advantage of all the goodies we find.
Then turning that free food into delicious store cupboard additions like jam, puree, juice etc for the winter ahead.
We look forward to wild berry picking ever year, especially brambles (blackberries)
So Here Is Our Berry Picking Guide For Autumn.
Everything has its own season and taking advantage of all this fruit is a lovely way to glide into winter.
But first, some Things To Remember While Berry Picking
- NEVER eat anything, including berries without knowing 100% what it is. Some berries are poisonous and will make you very ill, so double check it before you eat it!
- Be prepared for thorns and other nasties like nettles. Raspberries and blackberries have prickles that can scratch you, there is usually nettles and other nasties growing through and aroind the berries so be aware when collecting.
- Some of the plants growing with your berries could be toxic so make sure to wear long sleeves to pick these!
- Always rinse your berries before eating.
- Avoid areas where herbicide has been sprayed. A tell tale line of dead vegetation indicates the use of chemicals like weed killer. Just avoid them and look elsewhere!
What To Wear When Picking Berries?
Wear old clothing- something you don’t mind getting stained or snagged on brambles.
Wear long sleeves and trousers this is not a time for shorts.
It can be helpful to have wellingtons or sturdy footwear to hold down spiny stems and protect you from stings and snags.
What Is A Berry Picker?
A berry-picking rake or berry picker is a tool for collecting berries.
Berry-picking rakes can be used to collect the best berries that grow at the top of back of the bush and usually there is a net attached to catch your crop.
A big stick is also usefull for keeping you balanced when leaning over.
What is the best time for berry picking?
In general here in the UK, July to October is generally berry picking months.
Wild strawberries, cherry plums, summer raspberries and other goodies are available a little earlier than this.
Best Berries To Forage For In Autumn
- Hawthorn berries.
- Rowan Berries
- Rose hips
Hawthorn plants grow everywhere. They are used as hedging plants, park trees and garden plants.
They produce amazing smelling white frothy flowers in spring and ruby red berries in Autumn.
The berry has a large pip inside, and can be quite tart to eat.
However, if picked after a frost they are pulpy and almost apple tasting.
Not everyones cup of tea but we love them.
- Hawthorn Jelly
- Hawthorn Ketchup
Wildlife loves it – its berries are an important food for many species of birds such as thrush and waxwing.
It’s also a favourite among foragers, too. The berries are bitter and inedible when raw, but make a deliciously deep orange jelly, perfect with cheese, game and lamb.
Rowan Berry Jelly
Since blackberries are not too tart and are fairly sweet, they’re a favorite of many Michiganders in various baking recipes!
Make a delicious sauce you can drizzle on pancakes or just about anything really, or make a tasty blackberry cake.
Blackberry jam is one of our favourites and we spend alot of time collecting berries so we can enjoy a range of recipes.
Blackberry upside downcake
Raspberries grow everywhere round our way. We have 2 kids summer raspberries and autumn raspberries. The only difference is when the berries are ready.
It means that we can harvest these amazing berries from June to October each year
Raspberry Recipe Ideas
Raspberries are perfect for pretty much everything from cakes, sauces, jams mixed drinks, and so much more!
Our favourite is to make an incredible jam for our family pancakes.
Go Berry Picking For Rosehips
Rosehips are an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
You can forage them from your own roses but they will grow wild too.
Try to get the dainty thin ones not the mega huge ones on the wild roses as these have much more seeds.
Rosehip syrup, perfect for ice cream or pancakes.
Elderberries are a fantastic source of lots of different vitamins.
This makes them a great immunity booster just in time for winter as well as completely yummy.
Theres so many ways to use these delicious berries.
How To Harvest Elderberries
Just a quick safety note on foraging elderberries.
Green elderberries are poisonous! As well as the bark leaves and stems.
Make sure you only use purple berries.
An easy way to pick the individual berries is to pick entire bunches off the tree.
Then once home use a fork to gently pull the berries off the stem, but I find it even easier to freeze them.
Once frozen they easily scrunch off the stem.
- Ice lollies
So, there you are some amazing ways to use the autumnal bounty growing all around you.
Rememberr to click below for your printable recipe book for ways to use these delicious berries
What is your favourite berry? And how do you use it?