The Forager’s Toolkit

This page is essentially a check-list of the things you’ll need before you head out into the wilderness in search of your dinner. I’ve separated everything into categories for easy browsing.

To Gather Molluscs You Will Need:

  • Wellies, guide, tub, and rakeEssential: A decent identification guide on the Molluscs you will be collecting, and also authoritative information ensuring that the waters you are collecting from are clean.
  • Essential: A tide timetable. It is far too easy to be caught out by an in-coming tide.
  • A bucket or plastic tub in which to gather your spoils.
  • You will also need a garden rake if going after Cockles, and possibly even a spade for Clams.
  • A sturdy, blunt knife is also handy for prising the likes of Limpets off rocks.
  • I also recommend a decent pair of wellies – foraging around rockpools is almost guaranteed to ruin your shoes.

To Gather Wild Greens You Will Need:

  • Basket and glovesEssential: Arguably even more important than a Mushroom guide is a guide to the wild Greens that you will be hunting for. Some species – Hemlock Water Dropwort, for example – if consumed will see you off in a matter of hours, so sure identification, as always, is an absolute must.
  • A basket, plastic tub or even just a carrier bag is fine for collecting a few greens.
  • A pair of gloves (even marigolds) are a very handy thing to have in your basket, especially if you are out picking anything thorny or prickly (like Stinging Nettles).
  • A pair of kitchen scissors are also useful for snipping off the fresh young tips of most greens. 

To Gather Wild Fruits and Berries You Will Need:

  • HawsEssential: At least two decent field guides to identifying wild plants. Many red berries in particular look sufficiently similar to cause confusion between which are safe and which are poisonous.
  • A basket is fine for large fruits, but berries tend to get trapped and squished in between the grooves. Buckets are good all-rounders, as are large plastic containers.
  • Gloves may be required as some berry bushes – the tellingly titled Bramble, for example – are, well, a bit brambly.
  • A walking stick is also useful for hooking down those hard to reach branches.
  • Even better, a ladder, and someone to hold it as you climb. 

To Gather Mushrooms You Will Need:

  • A basket, trug, or plastic container to transport your findings home. Plastic carrier bags will not suffice I’m afraid as the mushrooms will sweat and spoil before you get them home.

    I have tried to identify this little mushroom I found for this picture, but have failed. There are over 4,000 species of larger fungi in the UK, so I've still got a lot to learn!

  • Essential: At the very least two books on how to identify wild mushrooms. You must always double-check, cross-check, and double-check again everything you put in your basket.
  • (Optional) A penknife. These are handy to help dig up the whole mushroom – essential for sure identification. You can also trim your mushrooms and scrape off any dirt before putting them in your basket to save yourself a job when you get home. You can get specialised mushroom knives, like the one shown here, complete with a little brush to tidy up your prize.

2 Responses to The Forager’s Toolkit

  1. Amanda says:

    Can you eat winkles in June?

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