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Edible plants to forage in November

  • Robin Harford
    Robin Harford

    Robin Harford is a plant forager, ethnobotanical researcher and wild food educator. He is the author of the bestselling Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of Britain and Ireland.

    He established his wild food foraging school in 2008, and his foraging courses were recently voted #1 in the country by BBC Countryfile.

    Robin is the creator of eatweeds.co.uk, listed in The Times Top 50 websites for food and drink.

  • 6:24 reading time (ish)
  • Foraging

Written by Robin Harford

Foraging is a fascinating skill that both deepens our relationship to nature and empowers our health. This article shares some interesting plants you can forage here in the UK in November.

Foraging is a wonderful way to connect both with nature, and nourish our health. We also want to spread the word about safe and ethical foraging, so please also read our article “A guide to safe and sustainable foraging” to learn how to practise foraging sustainably.

A useful link with images that can help with identification as well as botanical information is Wild Flower Finder.

Here Robin Harford shares some edible plants you can safely harvest from the wild in November.

Please note: Under Section 13 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, uprooting any wild plant without landowners’ permission is illegal (1).

Blackthorn or Sloe (Prunus spinosa)

There is some evidence at a Neolithic site in northern Italy that the fruits of Blackthorn, commonly known as Sloes, were cooked or roasted (2).

In late autumn, picking sloes, sometimes called slaes or sloans, is a well-kept countryside tradition.

In the 1700s, Robert Bloomfield described roasting sloes over a bonfire in The Farmer’s Boy, and in the 1900s, Victorian writer Anne Pratt recalled collecting sloes as a child and burying the fruit in a bottle until winter to make a preserve (3).

In France, the unripe fruits are pickled like olives. In Azerbaijan, the ripe fruits are pickled with onions and garlic. Dried sloes can also add flavour to herbal teas (4).

Sloe wine has been made for hundreds of years, and the bitter-tasting fruits are still used to make sloe gin, flavour liqueurs, and even added to ice cream.

Sloe gin is recommended as an after-dinner winter drink because of its warming qualities. The dark berries can be made into delicious jellies and jams.

Robin Harford

Robin Harford is a plant forager, ethnobotanical researcher and wild food educator. He is the author of the bestselling Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of Britain and Ireland. He established his... Read more

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