If you haven't heard, everyone's foraging – from free spirits who are hot on sustainability to Michelin-starred chefs offering weird and wonderful foraged edibles. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to own a Barbour or live in the countryside to enjoy nature’s nosh for free. Some of the easiest and most rewarding forages can be harvested right here in town – so here are five of our faves to track down this autumn.
1. Rowan berries
Similar to cranberries, rowan berries are small, bright red and come from the mountain ash tree – which are often planted in municipal gardens or landscaped and private gardens. But you can find them growing in places like Hampstead Heath or Victoria Park or other parks and woodlands. They're good for jams and tea or go great with meats.
Another bright red berry that's good in a jam, you can get haws from the hawthorn tree – but check for small lobed leaves and long sharp thorns! Wimbledon Common has plenty of them but you'll need to get there early to beat the birds. Haws can also be found in Highbury Fields and by the Thames in Ham.
3. Dog Rose Hips
Dog rose hips are the red seed pod of the wild rose. There's plenty in hedge-like growth in parks, such as Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park or even near car parks in Richmond. You can use them to make rosehip syrup, a medicinal tonic full of vitamins and goodness.
4. Crab apples
Small apple-like fruits with a long stalk, you can find these in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington. Make them into a jelly or bake with loads of sugar.
Chestnuts are proper good grub for roasting. You'll find them literally everywhere, but head to the south side of Hyde Park as there's miles of chestnuts – more than enough for London’s squirrels.