morell fungus fungi mushroom forage foraging forager fre food wild thrifty sustainability sustainable self sufficient

Foraging in Spring – Free food in the wild UK

Free

Foraging in Spring, for food in the wild, is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

Wild Garlic ramsons forage forager foraging in Spring free food in the wild uk sustainability thrifty

Wild Garlic – ‘Ramsons’ – Ready to forage right now! – Great in a stir-fry or pesto

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem. Start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground, or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Below is a list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick during Springtime in the UK.

If you haven’t tried foraging before, why not just go for a walk around your local park or woodland and see if you recognise any of the plants or fungi that appear on this blog.

Take a tub or bag with you and make sure that you wash your foraged finds before you eat them.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

Get Foraging in Spring!

Early Spring:

Birch SapBulrushChickweedCleaversDandelion RootGorse FlowersGround elderHairy bittercressHop ShootsJack-by-the-hedgeMorelNettleOyster MushroomSweet VioletVelvet shankWild Garlic

Late Spring:

BorageBrooklimeBistortCarragheenChickweedCleaversCow ParsleyDandelion Flowers & RootDog RoseFairy-ring ChampignonFat HenGorse FlowersHawthorne leaves & blossomHop ShootsLaverMallow leavesMintMorelNettlePrimrosePrunellaRosemarySea BeetSorrelSt George’s MushroomSweet CicelySweet VioletTansy leavesWatercressWild GarlicYarrow

Identifying your foraged finds

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

Dandelion jam jelly honey make home-made thrifty sustainability gift present DIY dandelions

Dandelions – flowers and leaves great in salad – turn the roots into a coffee-like drink

morell fungus fungi mushroom forage foraging in spring forager free food wild thrifty sustainability sustainable self sufficient

Foraging in Spring for the elusive but tasty Morell

Dog Rose forage foraging forager wild food may uk thrifty sustainability

Dog Rose – you can eat the petals!

Ground Elder forage foraging in Spring uk free food wild thrifty sustainability save money

Ground Elder – great eaten raw in salads

 

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:
My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

stop wasting food store food longer - photo courtesy of USDA - reducing food waste, saving money.

How to stop wasting food and start saving money!

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Sustainability, Thrifty

How to stop wasting food

Stop wasting food store food longer - photo by USDA Flickr

Stop wasting food and start saving money!  – (photo by USDA Flickr)

There are lots of things that we can do to stop wasting food.

By looking at the way that we buy, store and use ingredients, we can reduce food waste and save money!

Plan before you shop

Before you shop, take a look in the fridge, freezer and cupboards. Do you really know what you have already?

A lot of the time we go into autopilot mode when shopping, we pick up the ingredients and items that we know we eat regularly. By shopping this way, we may accidentally buy something that we already have at home. This is fine for food with a long shelf life, such as tinned food, but may otherwise lead to waste.

Knowing what you already have to use up at home is a great starting point! See what needs to be used up in your fridge and freezer and plan your meals around that.

Meal planning

Knowing what you already have to use up, you could create a meal plan for the week. Using up your leftovers and short date food first. Buying additional ingredients for later in the week. This way you will make the most of your leftovers and only buy only what you need.

Make a shopping list

Shopping list, make a shopping list to save money and stop wasting food, thrifty and sustainable

Make and stick to a shopping list to save money

Making a list (and sticking to it!) can really help you to save money and reduce food waste.

Shops are very clever at making their displays deliciously enticing, leading you to impulse-buy food that you might not have intended to buy. These displays are often at the till, on the ends of aisles, or at eye height throughout the shop. Being able to stick to a shopping list can help you to avoid impulse buying.

A carefully thought out shopping list can also help you to stop stocking up on food that you already have at home. How many tins of beans and tomatoes do you really need!

Shopping

As you start to think about what you actually need, rather than shopping on auto pilot, you can stop wasting food and start saving money.

It’s never a great idea to go shopping when you are hungry as you are more likely to be swayed by the impulse buys that the shops have displayed. You are also more likely to opt for snacks and treats that you may otherwise have avoided.

Shops try to encourage you to buy more than you might need with special offers and multi-buys. If you genuinely need and will use the items, this can save you money. If you will not get to use all of the items before the date runs out, can you freeze them? If not, you will have wasted money and food, so it is worth thinking twice before loading up your trolley with these offers. Of course you could go shopping with a friend and share the multi-buy offers between you and save money that way.

When buying fresh food, unless you will be eating it that day, ensure that the ‘best before’ date or ‘use by’ date has enough time left for your needs. Is it suitable for home freezing in case you run out of time to use it?  Do you need to buy all of your fresh food today or can you space out shops to stop wasting food?

Cooking and leftovers

pizza leftovers stop wasting food store food longer thrifty save money sustainability

Pop leftover dinner in the fridge – tomorrow’s lunch sorted

Thinking about portion size can help to reduce leftovers.

Do you often make too much? If you make the same portion size as usual, do you have leftovers? Can you reduce the portion size that you cook, so that there is less leftover? Could you save money by cooking a batch of food and freezing the leftover portions for later use?

If you have leftovers, you can ensure they are not wasted by storing them correctly and labeling them with the date and heating instructions for future reference.

How to store food for longer

Taking a look at how we store the food that we buy, can make a real difference.

Make sure that you take a look at the ‘best before’ or ‘use before’ dates on each item and use the ones with the shortest shelf life first. If you will not be able to use an item before the date runs out, can it be frozen? Can you give it to someone who can use it, such as a neighbour, family member or colleague?

Changing the way that we store some foods can make a big difference to how long it will last and will help us, overall, to stop wasting food.

Fridge / Freezer Temperature

Ensure that your fridge and freezer are set at the optimum temperature. You can take a look in the user manual, or find an online version of the manual if you don’t have one. If you can’t find your specific manual, keep your refrigerator temperature at or below 40° F (4° C). Your freezer temperature should be 0° F (-18° C).  These temperatures will ensure that your food is stored safely and will avoid food spoiling.

Freezing leftovers

When you freeze leftovers or surplus food, ensure that it’s stored in an airtight container, or in a sealed freezer bag with the air squeezed out. Label the container with the date it is frozen and with what the contents are.

Try to use frozen food with fresh ingredients, such as dairy or fish, within a month. Most other foods will keep from 3-6 months before they are past their best. Keep an eye on the dates that you have labelled your frozen food with, what do you need to use up soon?

Getting into the habit of checking which food needs to be used up first, will really help you to stop wasting food and start saving money!

Leftover foods that freeze well

* Soup * stews * curries * baby food * fruit purees * rice * double cream * cheese * mashed potatoes * mashed root veg * un-iced cakes * nuts * a plastic bottle of milk (handy) * egg yolks and whites * raw dough for pastry/bread/biscuits etc * breadcrumbs * ground coffee beans * grated cheese * sliced bread (can go straight to toaster) * whole sandwiches (with no salad) * orange juice * herbs * whole chillies * fresh pasta * raw fish * raw meat * left over stock *

If freezing raw meat such as sausages, split into portions first so that you don’t have to defrost more than you need. Ensure that you defrost frozen meat thoroughly before cooking and then do not refreeze it.

Potatoes and root veg

  • If you have a lot of potatoes, carrots or parsnips that you will not be able to use before they run out of date.. Cook them, mash them, store in an air-tight container and freeze them! Add a ‘made on’ date to the container and use it within 3 months. Great for serving at a later date with your roast dinner
  • If you have lots of potatoes to use up, par-boil them, toss them in oil, then freeze in an air-tight container or sealed bag – ready for your roasting tray at a later date

Freezing fresh fruit and veg

frozen food, freezer food, freezing vegetables, frozen vegetables in containers, how to freeze fresh vegetables, fresh vegetables store

Freeze your excess vegetables – thrifty!

Fruit – space out slices of fruit or whole berries over a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then put in a sealed bag, or container, in your freezer.

Vegetables –  boil evenly sized pieces briefly, then cool quickly in iced water, then drain, space out the pieces of veg over a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then put in a sealed bag, or container, in your freezer.

Raw meat and fish

  • Keep raw meat, poultry, and fish refrigerated. They should be stored separately from other foods so that they don’t contaminate them. Many fridges have a meat compartment in the bottom of the fridge or you can store uncooked meat and seafood on the lowest rack in your fridge to prevent their juices from leaking onto the other foods
  • Removing raw meat from its original packaging and re-wrapping in foil, can extend its shelf-life in the fridge
  • Wrapped raw fish can last a little longer in your fridge if you store it on a layer of ice cubes in a bowl (adding fresh ice when necessary)

Dairy products

  • Milk, cream, yogurt, and other dairy products are best stored on the upper shelves of your fridge. The temperature there is the most constant, so they’ll keep longer
  • Keeping milk in your fridge door, whilst convenient, is not the best place for it. The door area is warmer, so your milk will go off more quickly there
  • Mayonnaise will last longer in the fridge door as it is less likely to separate and can last much longer this way
  • Your cheese should be kept wrapped in its original packaging if possible, this will keep it from going mouldy. If this is not possible, wipe excess oil from each face of the cheese, then wrap in waxed paper or parchment paper, to keep it from drying out

Cheese can absorb the flavours and chemicals from plastic wrap, so it’s best to avoid that.

  • Eggs should be kept in a cool dark place, preferably in your fridge. Keep on one of the shelves, rather than in the door of your fridge, and keep separately from other foods. Keeping them in their box is ideal or in an egg tray

Fruit

avocado, keep avocados fresh with lemon juice or oil, stop wasting food, store food for longer, thrifty save money

Keep half an avocado fresh – brush with lemon juice or oil

Some fruits give off a gas that can speed up the ripening of surrounding fruits. These fruits should be kept separate from other fruits and should also be kept out of the fridge. Knowing which fruits give off this ripening gas can really help you to stop wasting food.

Gas releasers: avocados, bananas, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, and tomatoes.

  • Citrus fruit and melons are also best kept out of your fridge. Once citrus fruit is cut, it can however be wrapped and refrigerated to prevent it from drying out
  • Most other fruits will last longer if they are kept in the fridge. Leave some fruits out to ripen, but once ripe, store in your fridge
  • Don’t store fresh fruits and vegetables in their own airtight bags or containers, as this can speed up decay
  • Leftover slices of fresh fruit can be kept a little longer in the fridge if you sprinkle lemon juice over them, this will prevent browning and help to preserve the fruit. Similarly you can brush a left over half of an avocado in lemon juice or oil and wrap in foil to keep it from browning, do not refrigerate it
  • Keep these ethylene-producing fruits away from your vegetables in the fridge: apples, stone fruits, mangoes, passion fruit, pears, and kiwis

Do not wash your fruit until you are ready to eat it, as the excess water can speed up decay.

Vegetables

mushrooms, storing mushrooms paper bag mushroom keep fresh thrifty

Keep mushrooms fresh for longer in a paper bag

Most veg can be kept fresher for longer, if you keep them in the fridge. Remove any traces of mould from your veg to prevent it spreading. Do not wash your vegetables before placing in the fridge, as excess water can speed decay.

  • Potatoes and root veg are best kept in a cool dark place rather than the fridge, this will help them to last much longer. If the potatoes have little sprouts, they have not gone bad, simply rub the sprouts off. Your potato will still be fantastic
  • Onions, garlic and shallots should be kept in a cool, dark place, in a paper bag, rather than your fridge. In the fridge, they will lose much of their flavour and not last as long
  • If you have a bag or container of salad, add a sheet of kitchen towel to absorb moisture, this will help your salad to keep crisp and fresh for longer
  • If you have left over celery, wrapping it in foil can help it to stay crisp and fresh for longer
  • Asparagus can be kept for longer if you trim the end off the stems and place upright in a glass with water in the bottom, cover loosely with a plastic bag, keep on your counter rather than in your fridge. This will keep them fresh and crisp for a week
  • Store-bought mushrooms are best kept in their original packaging in the fridge and wrapped with cling film once opened. If you have loose or wild mushrooms, they last longer if kept in a paper bag in the fridge

Herbs

keep herbs fresh for longer, corriander, herb store, stop wasting food, store food longer, thrifty, sustainability, save money

Keep herbs fresh for longer in a glass of water

Here is a tip for keeping your leafy herbs, such as basil, parsley and coriander, fresher for longer.. Remove the packaging, trim a small amount off the end of each stem, place them in a glass of water on the counter, much like a bunch of flowers. Cover the herbs loosely, with a plastic bag. This will ensure that your herbs stay fresh for at least a week, rather than go slimy after a couple of days in the fridge.

Bread
Help your fresh bread to last longer, by storing it at room temperature, in an airtight container or a paper bag. You could also wrap it in a clean tea towel. Do not store it in your fridge, keep it on the counter. You can also revive almost-stale bread that is on its last day, by warming in your oven.

Nuts

Storing nuts at room temperature, in air-tight containers, will preserve their natural moisture and help them to last longer. Ideally, you should store them in their own shells.

Other

You will find that refrigerating your soy sauce, can help it to maintain its flavour and last for up to two years.

There are lots of other fantastic food storage tips out there. Search the internet for terms like: clever food storage, food storage hacks, storing food for longer, make food last longer, stop wasting food, storing food correctly etc.. Or feel free to post your own tips and tricks in the comments section below.

 

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Hazelnut Hazelnuts foraging for free food wildfood bushcraft forager forage survival gather harvest nut nuts

Foraging in August – free food in the wild UK

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

Hazelnut Hazelnuts foraging for free food wildfood bushcraft forager forage survival gather harvest nut nuts

Foraging Hazelnuts in August

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem. Start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground, or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Below is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in August in the UK.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

If you haven’t tried foraging before, why not just go for a walk around your local park or woodland, see if you recognise any of the plants or fungi that appear on this blog.

Take a tub or bag with you, and make sure that you wash your foraged finds before you eat them.

Get Foraging in August!

Borage    Black Mustard    Blackberries    Brooklime    Cauliflower Fungus     Carragheen     Cep    Chanterelle    Cherry Plums   Chicken of the woods    Chickweed    Cleavers    Crab Apples   Dandelion Flowers & Root    Elderberries     Fairy-ring Champignon    Fat Hen   Field Mushroom   Giant Puffball   Gooseberry    Green Walnut    Hazelnuts   Hedgehog Fungus   Horse Mushroom    Laver   Mallow leaves    Mint    Nettle   Mulberries     Parasol Mushroom   Primrose Leaves    Prunella Raspberry    Rosehips    Rosemary   Sea Beet     Shaggy Cap    Sorrel     Watercress   Wild Cherries    Wild Damsons    Wild Fig   Wild Strawberry

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

 

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Gooseberry gooseberries forage foraging bushcraft forager wild food uk

Foraging in July – free food in the wild UK

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

Gooseberry gooseberries forage foraging bushcraft forager wild food uk

Gooseberries

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem. Start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground, or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Below is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in July in the UK.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

If you haven’t tried foraging before, why not just go for a walk around your local park or woodland, see if you recognise any of the plants or fungi that appear on this blog.

Take a tub or bag with you, and make sure that you wash your foraged finds before you eat them.

Get Foraging in July!

Borage    Blackcurrant   Brooklime    Carragheen   Cep   Chanterelle   Chicken of the woods   Chickweed    Cleavers   Dandelion Flowers & Root    Dog Rose    Fairy-ring Champignon   Fat Hen   Field Mushroom   Giant Puffball   Gooseberry    Gorse Flowers    Green Walnut   Horse Mushroom   Laver  Lime Blossom   Mallow leaves    Mint    Nettle   Parasol Mushroom    Primrose Leaves    Prunella    Raspberry   Redcurrant   Rosemary   Sea Beet   Shaggy Cap   Sorrel   Sweet Violet Tansy leaves    Watercress    Wild Fig   Wild Strawberry

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

 

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Wild Strawberry foraging in June in the UK forage bushcraft thrifty alpine strawberry

Foraging in June – free food in the wild UK

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

Wild Strawberry foraging in June in the UK forage bushcraft thrifty alpine strawberry

Wild Strawberry – small but tasty!

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem. Start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground, or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Below is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in June in the UK.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

If you haven’t tried foraging before, why not just go for a walk around your local park or woodland, see if you recognise any of the plants or fungi that appear on this blog.

Take a tub or bag with you, and make sure that you wash your foraged finds before you eat them.

Get Foraging in June!

Borage    Brooklime     Carragheen     Chickweed     Cleavers     Cow Parsley     Dandelion Flowers & Root     Dog Rose    Elderfower     Fairy-ring Champignon    Fat Hen     Gorse Flowers     Hawthorne leaves & blossom    Laver     Mallow leaves      Mint     Morel      Nettle      Primrose     Prunella     Rosemary     Sea Beet    Shaggy Ink Cap  Sorrel St George’s Mushroom    Sweet Cicely     Sweet Violet    Tansy leaves     Watercress     Wild Fig    Wild Garlic    Wild Strawberry     Yarrow

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

 

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Dog Rose forage foraging forager wild food may uk thrifty sustainability

Foraging in May – Free food in the wild UK

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

Dog Rose forage foraging forager wild food may uk thrifty sustainability

Dog Rose – Edible petals and later, the rose-hips.

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem as you start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground, or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Below is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in May in the UK. As the weather gets warmer, there is plenty to be found for the eager forager.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

If you haven’t tried foraging before, why not just go for a walk around your local park or woodland, see if you recognise any of the plants or fungi that appear on this blog.

Take a tub or bag with you, and make sure that you wash your foraged finds before you eat them.

Get Foraging in May!

Borage    Brooklime     Carragheen     Chickweed     Cleavers     Cow Parsley     Dandelion Flowers & Root     Dog Rose      Fairy-ring Champignon     Fat Hen     Gorse Flowers     Hawthorne leaves & blossom     Hop Shoots     Laver     Mallow leaves     Mint     Morel     Nettle     Primrose     Prunella     Rosemary     Sea Beet    Sorrel     St George’s Mushroom     Sweet Cicely     Sweet Violet     Tansy leaves     Watercress     Wild Garlic     Yarrow

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

 

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Wild Garlic ramsons forage forager foraging free food in the wild uk sustainability thrifty

Foraging in April – Free food in the wild – UK

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

Wild Garlic ramsons forage forager foraging free food in the wild uk sustainability thrifty

Wild Garlic leaves (Ramsons) – identify by breaking a leaf for a distinctive garlicy smell

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem as you start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground, or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Below is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in April in the UK. As the weather gets warmer, there is plenty to be found for the eager forager.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

If you haven’t tried foraging before, why not just go for a walk around your local park or woodland, see if you recognise any of the plants or fungi that appear on this blog.

Take a tub or bag with you, and make sure that you wash your foraged finds before you eat them.

Get Foraging in April!

Bistort    Carragheen    Cleavers   Cow Parsley    Dandelion Flowers & Root    Fairy-ring Champignon    Gorse Flowers    Hawthorne leaves   Hop Shoots    Laver   Mallow leaves    Morel    Nettle    Primrose     Prunella   Rosemary   Sea Beet    St George’s Mushroom   Sweet Violet    Tansy leaves   Wild Garlic   Yarrow

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

 

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

morell fungus fungi mushroom forage foraging forager fre food wild thrifty sustainability sustainable self sufficient

Foraging in March – Free food in the wild

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

morell fungus fungi mushroom forage foraging forager free food wild thrifty sustainability sustainable self sufficient

The elusive but tasty Morell

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem as you start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground, or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Below is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in March.  As the weather gets warmer, there is a little more to be found for the eager forager.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

If you haven’t tried foraging before, why not just go for a walk around your local park or woodland, see if you recognise any of the plants or fungi that appear on this blog.

Take a tub or bag with you, and make sure that you wash your foraged finds before you eat them.

Get Foraging in March!

Birch Sap      Bulrush      Cleavers      Dandelion Root      Gorse Flowers      Ground elder       Hairy bittercress       Hop Shoots       Jack-by-the-hedge       Morel       Nettle       Sweet Violet       Velvet shank       Wild Garlic

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

 

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Hairy Bittercress wild herb food free foraging forager forage uk thrifty sustainability

Foraging in February – free food in the wild

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

Hairy Bittercress wild herb food free foraging forager forage uk thrifty sustainability

Hairy Bittercress – a peppery mustard flavour to add to raw salads

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem as you start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Here is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in February, although free food is far more scarce over winter, there is still something to be found for the eager forager.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

Foraging in February:

Chickweed     Ground elder    Hairy bittercress    Jack-by-the-hedge    Nettle    Velvet shank

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:
My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Ground Elder forage foraging uk free food wild thrifty sustainability save money

Foraging in January – Free food in the wild

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

Ground Elder forage foraging uk free food wild thrifty sustainability save money

Ground Elder – great eaten raw in salads

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem as you start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Here is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in January, although free food is far more scarce over winter, there is still something to be found for the eager forager.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

Foraging in January:

Chickweed    Ground Elder    Oyster mushroom   Velvet shank

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

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grow your own zucchini courgette plant vegetables self-sufficient lifestyle thrifty sustainability

Why grow your own fruit and vegetables?

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Sustainability, Thrifty

thrifty sustainability affordable cheap food grow your own vegetables allotmentGrow your own

If you are looking for ways to save money and to live a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle, why not grow your own food, it’s a great place to start.

Planting, nurturing, growing, picking, preparing and then eating your own food can be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding experience.

Whether you are growing food in an allotment, community garden project, your home garden or even in your window box, there is a way for everyone to have a go and have a grow!

Saving Money

The price of food shopping is always increasing and growing your own food can help to cut food bills considerably.

As an example: You can buy a packet of courgette seeds for 70p and just one courgette plant can yield 10 courgettes or more! Compare that to a pack of 2 courgettes costing £1.30 in a supermarket and you can see how the savings will soon pile up.

grow your own zucchini courgette plant vegetables self sufficient lifestyle thrifty sustainability

Just one courgette plant can yield 10 courgettes or more!

You can save even more money buy bulk-buying packets of seeds online. Ebay has lots of these and you can often buy a set of 50 varied seed packets for about £10.

If money is tight you can also swap your extra fresh fruit and veg with neighbours for other items that you need.

Rather than buying an expensive gift, freshly picked fruit and veg makes an excellent present for a friend or relative. It’s a really thoughtful gift because you’ve put your time and energy into making it for them. You could make a fresh veg hamper or give a bag of fresh veg with a recipe for a soup that they can make with the vegetables.

Helping the environment

pesticides food production industry sustainability grow your own vegetables

Pesticides can pollute the soil and our rivers

If you grow your own food, you are helping the environment. You dramatically cut your food’s carbon footprint, by cutting down on the energy use, waste and emissions that the food industry production, refrigeration and transportation requires.

Your home-grown food will also not have used chemical fertilisers or pesticides which are harmful for local wildlife, such as bees and birds, and the environment. Pesticides used in growing food on a mass-scale can pollute the soil and as rain water drains through the soil and finds its way to streams an rivers, our waterways can become polluted and harm fish and river wildlife also.

Health Benefits

This new hobby can benefit your health also. You will discover a sense of wellbeing and connectedness to nature, as you work in harmony with your environment and enjoy fresh, seasonal, organic fruit and veg. Harvesting and preparing food that you’ve grown yourself, from scratch, can also give your self-esteem a really great boost.

By consuming your produce within a few hours of picking, you enjoy the full, fresh, nutritional benefit of that food. If it is freshly-picked the vitamin content of the food is at its highest. Eating lots of fresh fruit and veg can really help you to absorb all the vitamins and minerals that you need as part of a healthy balanced diet and that helps to strengthen your body’s immune system.

Of course, gardening is also great exercise! All that time out in the fresh air, moving around, getting your heart pumping, using your muscles and even boosting your mood with all that natural light and the feeling of vitality that comes from working up a sweat!

Anyone who has ever tasted a freshly-picked, home-grown, organic, ripe, plump and juicy tomato, bursting with flavour…will tell you that freshly picked food tastes so much better! So start enjoying your food even more by really tasting it. Food that is a joy to eat can make anyone smile.

Community

When we work together and share the results, we build and strengthen a community.

veg gift basket grow your own vegetables self sufficient lifestyle thrifty sustainability

Share your home-grown veg with friends

As you grow your own food, you will find that sometimes you get a glut of a particular fruit or vegetable, as the weather and growing conditions have produced an abundance of growth. This is a fantastic opportunity to share your home-grown food with friends, family, neighbours and fellow food growers!

If you grow on an allotment, perhaps you can leave spare food near the gate with a sign saying – free, please take what you need. If you grow in your garden at home and have a glut, why not take your spare food to a neighbour or friends. You may even find that your friends, neighbours and fellow growers are inspired to do the same.

Talk to fellow food growers, share tips and success stories, share food and left over seeds. Not only might you make someone’s day, but you just might learn something and make a new friend too!

More articles about growing and preserving your own food coming soon.

Similar posts: Grow your own – Planting & Picking Calendar

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christmas chutney yummy tomato apple diy home made gift gifts thrifty sustainability making relish

Make it for Christmas: Tomato & Apple Chutney

Making & DIY, Thrifty

Tomato & Apple Chutney is a great recipe to have a go at in October/early November as the fruits are in season and once the chutney is sealed in the jars, it will have time to mature to be extra-delicious just in time for Christmas.

tomatoes tomato apple chutney chutny pickle pickles home made preserve thrifty sustainability cheap foodGetting into a thrifty mindset, it is a good idea to make and prepare DIY Gifts all year round so that you have a little stockpile of beautifully-made, special presents – ready to give to your loved ones, family and friends. Making your own gifts can also save you a small fortune at Christmas. If you get swept up in the commercialism of Christmas and of gift-giving, it’s easy to believe that the more you spend on a present, the more the recipient will feel loved. The truth is, the more thought and time you put into a present, the more the recipient will KNOW they are loved.

With this gift idea you can put even more thought into the design by personalising and decorating the labels that you stick on each jar.

Making your own gifts can save you a small fortune at Christmas!

You will need:

First off you will need clean, sterilised, glass jars with lids. You can shop around kitchen stores or supermarkets during the sales to find cheap, empty jam and preserve jars, or you can save even more money by recycling your empty jam and chutney jars.

To recycle your own jars, ensure you wash each jar and lid thoroughly then when you have a good stash, sterilise in bulk, all the jars and lids using sterilising solution. You can buy a pot of sterilising powder for under £2 which will make a few batches of sterilising solution – available from anywhere that sells home-brewing equipment, or here is one from Amazon – VWP Cleanser and sterilser – 100g


Tomato & Apple Chutney Recipe:

(Makes about 6 jars)

Ingredients

  • christmas chutney tomato apple diy home made gift gifts thrifty sustainability making relish450g (1lb) Apples – finely chopped (do not use the core)
  • 450g (1lb) Onions – finely chopped (do not use the peel/skin)
  • 1kg ( 2lb 3oz) Firm, ripe tomatoes – finely chopped
  • 300g (10 ½ oz) Sultanas
  • 450ml (16 fl oz) Vinegar
  • 350g Brown Sugar
  • 1tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • 1tsp Nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

christmas chutney tomato apple diy home made gift gifts thrifty sustainability making relish make

  1. Put all of the ingredients apart from the sultanas, sugar, salt and pepper into a large, heavy-based saucepan – there is no need to add cooking oil. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thicker
  2. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the sugar, sultanas, salt and pepper
  3. Put saucepan back on a low heat, increase heat to bring the mixture back to a simmer and simmer for a further 30 mins – 2hrs until the mixture is very thick
  4. Remove saucepan from heat and spoon, whilst still warm, into the sterilised jars. Seal the jars and add your own labels – you can add a square of clingfilm across the top of the chutney before you screw on the lid if you wish to help it to keep longer

Storing the chutney

The chutney will mature and the flavours will deepen if you can leave it sealed in the jar for a month or two before opening and enjoying. You can leave the chutney, sealed in its jar, for a year or two in a cool dark store cupboard – it will still be safe to eat. Once opened, keep refrigerated and the chutney will be fine to eat for a good few months… if it lasts that long!

How to thicken runny chutney

Making chutney is not an exact science and sometimes it can take ages to thicken. The runnyness is due to how much liquid was in the fruit that you used and there is nothing you can do other than wait it out.

As you simmer your mixture, the liquid from the fruit evaporating is what makes the chutney thicker, so keep it simmering and eventually it will thicken.

If you would like to speed up the process, transfer your mixture to a couple of wide-based pans – an increased surface area of the mixture will allow for more evaporation.

christmas chutney yummy tomato apple diy home made gift gifts thrifty sustainability making relishDecorating your jars of yummy chutney

There are lots of ways to make the label that you put on your chutney special…

  • You could personalise each jar by writing the name of the recipient
  • You could draw a picture of the ingredients on the label
  • You could write serving suggestions, such as: Great with Sausages, Cheese and in Christmas Sandwiches!
  • You could add the date that the chutney was made
  • You could add stickers, glitter, whatever… get creative!


If you’re a complete chutney nut, you can, of course, keep the whole batch for yourself and scoff the lot! Enjoy!

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blackberry forraging forrage for free food in the wild pick free food foraging forage find edible

Foraging in September – Free food in the wild

Free

Foraging for free food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

blackberry forraging forrage for free food in the wild pick free food foraging forage find edible

Blackberries

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem as you start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Below is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in September, each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the below on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

Foraging in September:

Beech nuts     Bilberry     Black mustard     Blackberries     Blewit     Cauliflower fungus     Cep     Chanterelle     Clover flowers     Crab apples     Dandelion roots     Elderberries     Fairy-ring Champignon     Field mushroom     Giant puffball mushroom     Hawthorn berries     Hazelnut/Cobnuts     Heather flowers     Hedgehog fungus     Honey fungus     Hop fruits     Horse mushroom     Inkcaps     Jack-by-the-hedge     Juniper     Parasol mushroom     Poppy     Raspberries     Rosehip    Rowan berries     Saffron milk cap     Sea beet     Shaggy cap     Velvet shank     Wild service tree     Wild strawberry

 

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and then preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

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thrifty sustainability make Pizza do it yourself DIY pizza toppings save money on takeaway food cheap

Make it: Home made pizza

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Making & DIY

Let’s face it, pizza is the food of the Gods and you’re thinking… no way can I make a pizza that tastes as sublime as my usual take-away favourite. Well, not only can you make your own perfect, divine, exquisitely delicious pizza, but you’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing that you’ve saved yourself a tenner (this recipe only costs £1.50 – £3 per pizza) and you can be as picky as you like with the toppings.

thrifty sustainability make Pizza do it yourself DIY pizza toppings save money on takeaway food cheap

Save at least £10 – every time you make your own pizza from scratch

If you are interested in healthy eating, making your own pizza allows you to have total control over the ingredients, perhaps use whole-wheat organic flour instead of plain white flour, use gluten-free flour if you are a celiac and choose toppings which are in-line with your dietary requirements. If you are vegan, use vegan cheese or just a tomato sauce based topping and forget the cheese. Further topping suggestions below.

If you are interested in thrifty living because you are trying to clear a debt or save money, this could be an excellent opportunity to do just that. Every time you crave a takeaway pizza, take the time to make your own and put the £10 that you save in a ‘pizza savings’ jar and after 10 home-made pizzas you’ll have £100 to put towards paying off debts or to put into a savings account.

Yes it’s more effort to make it yourself.. but yes, it’s so worth it! Give it a try and have fun with it. If you have children, this can be a fun, messy and creative family activity!

If making your own pizza seems daunting, or a bit complicated, just give it a go, stick with it and after a couple of times you’ll get used to it and… you’ll get to love it.

Simple pizza base ingredients

  • 375g Plain white flour
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 7g of dried active baking yeast (you can buy these in a box of 8 x 7g sachets to save further pennies)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 225ml (8fl oz) of warm water

How to make the simple pizza base

1) put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until you get a dough
2) knead and stretch the dough for a minute or so
3) spread or roll out the dough into a pizza shape on a large pizza pan or baking sheet (avoid a sticking pizza base later by sprinkling a little flour onto the baking tray first)
4) add your pizza topping (details below)
5) put your pizza in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees or Gas mark 5 and bake for 20-25 mins

If you want to mix it up a bit when you make your base, you can swap whole-wheat flour for the plain flour, you can add herbs such as oregano to the dough and you can get a real take-away pizza style if you roll your dough out for an extra few centimetres and put chopped up mozzarella around the rim and then pull the dough back over the mozzarella to form a stuffed crust. Yum.

Pizza sauce

If you’re in a hurry, you don’t need to make pizza sauce, you can just squeeze tomato purée onto your pizza base and spread it all over before adding your toppings.

But, if you want something a little tastier, here is a really great recipe:

Pizza sauce ingredients:

  • ½ tin tomatoes (or equivalent finely chopped fresh tomatoes)
  • small onion finely chopped
  • thrifty sustainability make Pizza do it yourself DIY pizza square toppings save money on takeaway food cheap

    Get creative! – who says a pizza has to be round

    2 garlic bulbs finely chopped

  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • tomato purée to thicken

How to make the pizza sauce:

1) Fry the onions and garlic until soft
2) Add the tomatoes, sugar and herbs
3) Heat through and simmer for 10 mins to thicken, or add tomato purée to thicken
4) Spread it all over the pizza base

Pizza Topping ideas…

  • mozzarella and spinach or rocket or fresh basil is delicious and simple
  • chopped onions, mushrooms and peppers with grated cheddar cheese and… yes… tinned anchovies!
  • cheddar, mozzarella and red Leicester cheese
  • tinned pineapple pieces with chopped up ham and cheddar cheese
  • mozzarella and pepperoni
  • slices of cooked sausage with red onion chutney and cheddar cheese
  • goats’ cheese with red onion chutney

Be creative with the toppings, this is your chance to put your own stamp on things.. make a pattern, write your name, make a smiley face, or create your own weird concoctions and flavours. No-one said a pizza had to be round..

Have a think about what other favourite takeaway meals you could make for yourself and save yourself a small fortune!

Enjoy!

Have you got a great pizza topping idea or recipe to share? Let everyone know in the comments section below…

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