One of my favourite things to do with the kids in Spring and Summer is go foraging for things that we can cook with. I love showing the children the concept that they can collect parts of their own dinner, and we then head home and make something from what we’ve picked or found. The best place I seem to have found for getting some amazing wild garlic is Knaresborough, which we recently took a little trip to and visited Mother Shipton’s Cave again.It’s such a beautiful place, the scenery is beautiful and at £18 for a family of 4 I really think it’s reasonable for a good afternoon out. You get a tonne of history, a great museum at the end of the trail and they are redeveloping a new play area right in the middle, which will really help spruce up the one they have already.
Foraging is also another really good way to explain children that you should never way things that you find in the wild without being sure what they are. Right from a young age the boys have been taught that you mustn’t just pick up berries and eat them, it’s so important to respect nature and understand how dangerous it can be.
Here are a few of my foraging tips:
1.) Get Educated!
There are thousands of advice pamphlets that you can download online that will give you descriptions and diagrams of what is safe and what isn’t safe to forage for. Not only that but you will be able to find out what is suitable to collect with kids and which season is best to find these things in. If you don’t want to grab printouts and you plan on making foraging a more frequent thing then I would suggest grabbing a book or guide on the topic. There are hundreds out there and they are often pocket size to take with you out and about.
2.) Make a plan on a known route
The pictures we have are of our little trip to knaresborough, a place that is known for its wild garlic and has some beautiful wild garlic that you can grab and take home to prepare. The walk ways are all pretty safe, not to mention beautiful, so you aren’t straying too far from the beaten track.
3.) Stick together
The boys have a tendency to wander, which is fine, however we make it expressly clear that there is one BIG rule in foraging: NEVER pick anything without a grown up. We keep hold of our guide and if the boys find something, even something as obvious as blackberries, we don’t let them touch them until we have come over, checked the guide and made sure, unequivocally, that it is the right thing. Safety is first!
4.) Talk about what you see
As we love foraging so much, we do it often and we talk a lot about what we are planning to make when we get home. The children understand that what we are foraging for is going to go towards our dinner so we talk about making our favourite foods and adding to them – like cottage pie with wild garlic chopped up for flavour. I also let the boys prepare or chop whatever we gather up. They did this with the apples we collected at their grandparents house.
Do you go foraging? What’s your favourite thing to find?