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Summer is a great time for fresh food, with many fruits and vegetables coming into season and tasting their best. Some of us grow a few crops of our own, from a few herbs on the windowsill to a whole range of vegetables in the garden, but there are some fresh foods you can get for free, if you know where to look. Here are a few things to look out for if you're out walking in the countryside and fancy your hand at a bit of foraging.
- Berries. Summer berries are a staple at this time of year and we've all been out picking blackberries from the hedgerows in our time. Also look out for strawberries and raspberries but make sure you're not pinching them from someone's private supply!
- Mushrooms. This should go without saying but we'll say it anyway - you must only go foraging for mushrooms if you really know what you're looking for. Some species can be seriously poisonous, even causing death. Having said that, and if you really do know what to look for, there are some real fungal treats to be had from our countryside - the morel mushroom is said to be particularly tasty
- Wild garlic. Sometimes on a walk or even while driving you'll get a waft of a familiar garlicky smell. Unless you've just walked past a house where someone is cooking, it's possible it's wild garlic, a really tasty and versatile plant that grows in abundance. Use the leaves as well as the small bulbs to add a mild garlic flavour to dishes. It also has many health benefits too
- Seaweed. Rather than being a slippery annoyance when you're on the beach, seaweed is in fact a very good food for foraging, being high in vitamins and minerals and really versatile to cook with. Some people even bathe in it, to absorb the nutrients into their skin!
You're sensible people, but it's worth noting that you should only forage for food if you know what you're looking for - don't eat anything you're unsure of, it could be harmful!
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