Autumn family foraging

There is no doubt that since moving to France we have spent lots more time together as a family. With all this time we've started to craft more, bake more, and learn about our surroundings with a new family pastime...foraging. We don't have to travel far to find fruit dropping from the trees or growing along the roadside, especially at this time of year. If you were to look inside Reuben or Jacob's coat pocket you are likely to find an abundance of chestnuts (though in mine this week I found a couple of stones and a stale piece of bread leftover from feeding the ducks at the lake.) Autumn, or fall, is a time for harvest, and we've started our own little harvest collections at home.

It started in September with blackberries. Although a little late this year the roadsides were full of them. We emphasised to Reuben the importance of only taking what we needed and we filled our baskets with little handfuls. Jacob on the other hand ate whatever he could reach or got given. We blended them with bananas to make smoothies, froze them with apple juice to make ice lollies (see Reuben in picture above), and squashed them to a pulp to make cordial. Next year we'll be out for more and perhaps we'll venture into blackberry jam or even blackberry wine!

Then we discovered things that fell from the trees around us. Conkers were prised from their prickly shells and only the smooth ones would do. The walnuts we found from a tree at the top of our village. We're saving them for Christmas, though I have found a great craft using the shells as boats that I know the boys will love!
In October the chestnuts came into their own. We again foraged for our own along the roadside until we found the chestnut festival in Laguépie. We were able to show Reuben the difference between the conkers he collected in his pockets and the version we could eat. An important distinction to make if we are to become true foragers! Acorns we found on our walks, the tops of which Reuben informed me were used by fairies as hats. I think grandma is responsible for that one!

If there's one fruit we've had most of this Autumn it's figs. We've made endless pots of jam with fruit from the heaving trees of kind neighbours. Reuben helped make the first batch, cutting up the figs before watching them boil to the right consistency. Both boys have enjoyed their sweet fig jam on toast. As a family we've discovered foraging is a great way to help us learn about our new environment, the changing seasons and how to eat for free! We're looking forward to continuing this new family pastime as we move into Winter and the next year.

What have you been foraging for this Autumn?

Becky x

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3 comments

  1. Read a good book about someone living a year on wild food. John Lewis-stempel. The Wild Life. Have missed autumn being out in Singapore this year. B

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  2. That sounds like an interesting read! We have 'The Thrifty Forager' by Alys Fowler. Some great tips and recipes in there.

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  3. You make it sound idyllic Becky! We have foraged loads of blackberries (a daily forage for two months) and sloes. I missed the elderflower this year, but I'll be quicker next! :-)

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