s club 7 reach for the stars can i get unisom colospa medication where to buy cymbalta tablets prometrium delivery uk order zithromax for chlamydia vegetal viagra suppliers how long does it take before viagra works can we trust avapro online buy viagra professional mg efectos al dejar de tomar sertralina 40 mg prozac 300 mg wellbutrin dramamine without prescription miami serophene generic equivalent acticin online price what does dilantin look like generic diovan hct 160 25 mg gratify for him male performance enhancement formula what is hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg for mobic online overnight aleve 1000 mg can you get high off benadryl allergy liqui gels side effects of plendil 5 mg kartela e zerit alphagan 100mg tablet buy oxytrol perth australia proscar cheap us pharmacy buy remeron tablets online what is dispersible doxycycline tablets bp buy pletal online quickest seroquel buy retino-a cream 0,025 visa side effects of trandate 200 mg can you order claritin drugs including isoptin shipping overseas non persciption cialis sublingual buy advair diskus 250mcg 50mcg discount where can i buy lynoral buy methotrexate in ireland best online pharmacy generic rumalaya liniment what is glycomet sr buy viagra generic prescription allegra-d vs allegra cymbalta 30 mg side effects can vitamin d deficiency cause erectile dysfunction buy bactrim online from canada allopurinol medication order best place to buy ortho tri cyclen in australia lipitor 40 mg cost levitra professional canadian pharmacy drugs no rx alesse online cheapest prescription buy albendazole dramamine drugs for sale what does deltasone doo levlen tablets from buy pharmacy top 200 drugs flashcards discount alphagan of canada rumalaya forte pharmacy coupons ginseng 40 mg emsam on line no script best place to buy strattera without a prescription big blue round pill 44 532 toradol im how long does it last cyklokapron roche precio argentina venlor uk buy methotrexate over the couter cialis purchase in usa erexin uk zithromax from side effects of plavix mayo clinic nimotop for sale philippines fluoxetine sale online safe cialis super active buy zithromax antibiotic dosage us online pharmacy no prescription medrol nitroglycerin generic buy rumalaya liniment online buy trazodone online without prescription brand pariet buy zyrtec breastfeeding mothers where to buy elimite in canada safely clonidine spain over counter is generic crestor safe cytotec abortion failure mail order ranitidine cheap tenormin sale uk pariet mexico pharmacy v-gel prices medrol 4mg tablet ephedraxin 10 mg cost costo de dostinex en mexico prescriptions without a script baclofen 10mg tab ups bactrim with paypal payment effexor canada generic prescription rules for buying claritin d levothroid discontinued indian aciphex drug discount prescription metformin no where coregraphics framework aygestin shelf life procardia dose for raynaud;s what is astrazeneca seroquel donde comprar viagra online espan~a lamisil sale accutane no prescription buy canadian buy revatio with generic diltiazem buy canada order cephalexin overnight buy alligators ohio how to take doxycycline monohydrate diltiazem without script live tv calcio in italiano best site get paroxetine buy brand chloromycetin viagra alternative for women how to get acivir pills on line is generic pyridium available in usa finpecia drug class lipitor sold over counter pharmacie kirchberg luxembourg horaires abuterol inhalers without perscriptionr cheap viagra jelly licensed drugstore bulk fluconazole without prescription delmar;s pharmacy technician certification exam review online lowest priced pyridium digoxin pills tofranil over the couter buy tamoxifen uk pharmacy to buy orlistat ordering risperdal here in canada buy purim cheap kamagra canada head office brand furosemide buy diclofenac costochondritis differin side effects pregnancy is it illegal to order generic cialis can i get trileptal best price for real ditropan buy finpecia 100mg online discount drugstore australia thailand government closing online pharmacies pravachol pharmacy prices list best price for real lamictal dosage of amoxil for uti buy ampicillin online overnight listaflex carisoprodol posologia zithromax antibiotics for sinus infection ditropan non perscription countries generic brand cialis for sale on line voveran maximum dosage where to get keftab order alesse online without where can i get brand levitra pills is omeprazole better than ranitidine do you need rx omnicef reglan user reviews watch love and other drugs on line for free buy seroflo hong kong breathing advair diskus venlor shoppers drug mart sale viagra professional quickest delivery of viagra to sydney femara from uk brafix for sale where to purchase glycomet what date is lexapro going generic order tenormin pills motrin generic reviews amantadine refills viagra generic online cheap legal to buy lamisil what does korean ginseng tea do kwikmed me uk cyklokapron discount order cialis uk best site get tenormin trental uk online american femcare buy remeron online seroquel xr reviews user reviews worldwide pharmacy pilex what happens after accutane treatment prednisone dosage chart poison ivy order toradol in buy aceon difference between doxycycline hyclate vs monohydrate best place to buy dostinex without tretinoin cream reviews for stretch marks capoten for men sale in uk periactin online canadian how long does zoloft take to work for depression what are the symptoms of taking too much thyroid medication reviews on nizoral anti dandruff shampoo neurontin 100mg cheep symptoms of asthma in young children danner boots promo code 2012 periactin appetite stimulant children side effects where purchase erexin-v paxil cr cost buy chewable kamagra long time side effects cleocin generic brand for imitrex generic wellbutrin for sale generic uk paypal tadalis sx lexapro dosages for anxiety metformin buy mexico buy luvox mexican pharmacies valacyclovir 500 mg tablets dosage healthy diet 19 year old male vytorin in canada albendazole in the uk now what types of female cialis are there azulfidine for sale uk where to acticin generic aldactone for sale on line clomid 150 mg buy best place to order arimidex cytoxan order in the us proventil canadian source vendita di viagra online buy lincocin greece betnovate mail order india buy novartis femara without prescription do you need rx meclizine comprar levitra espan~a where to buy periactin discount viagra super force 100 mg / 60 mg buy hydrochlorothiazide line online doxycycline alcohol nhs direct lithium pill shop discount code buy kamagra online leukeran without insurance propranolol online from uk levaquin over counter drug maxalt order by phone compazine iv rate where can i get l-tryptophan pills topamax withdrawal effects should women use propecia compazine express canada buy hyzaar with e check new erectile dysfunction drugs 2012 kamagra gold no prescription needed free coupon for alli generic biaxin us purchase lioresal pills finpecia legal in england buy viagra jelly pills online depo medrol rxlist clonidine catapres drug classification birth control pills olanzapine sumycin tablets for purchase provera 100mg cheap can i buy zoloft over the counter how to get lipitor for $4 purchase generic valtrex buy tegretol 200mg ventolin dosage for kids overnight pharmacy brand amoxil do i have to buy with paypal on ebay genuine ampicillin best way to get high on methadone pills buy aleve from canada where can i get zebeta pills propranolol 40 mg tab pliva citalopram dosage change zentel pret generic vermox buy canada how to take cytotec pill diclofenac genericon 100 mg beipackzettel where to buy retin-a ge drugs online canadian unisom cheap doxazosin free delivery how to get off paxil metformin pills used furosemide 40 mg for dogs cheap cefadroxil pills cheapest minipress tablets uk purchase deltasone lowest price generic viagra online canada no prescription pharmacy buy menosan in india online nizagara tablets india tulasi telugu movie songs online dostinex tablete srbija is it illegal to order generic acticin safe place order v-gel where to buy coumadin in canada safely chlamydia in men infertility buy crestor 10 mg anacin order vardenafil generic india acheter nizoral buy zyvox online india zofran now boots pharmacy cardiff queen st trusted rx shop alli weight loss pills success stories vermox medicine is for what brand calan for sale side effects of danazol best serevent prices can you buy levitra plus buy revatio with pharmacy cystone for dogs buy can you over the counter in canada buy lamisil tablets levitra super active online sales best generic pariet review buy furosemide online from mexico where do i lexapro in india naprosyn 500 vs aleve buy nizoral 2 shampoo cost of zantac 75 legal drugs in canada salvia alavert brand positioning what is the medicine valacyclovir used for kamagra gold generic where to buy purim overnight metoclopramide advair where can i buy viagra birth control online us zerit legal in england printable alli discount coupons clotrimazole and betamethasone dipropionate cream usp 1 0.05 for sale viamedic coupon 2012 generic cialis super active uk fda approved cialis for bph buy cleocin pills in the canada tegretol medication children yasminelle online kaufen ohne rezept nexium shoppers drug mart best soft prices cipla generic cialis best deal cialis online canadian aceon online pay paypal cheap canadian roxithromycin no prescription pharmaceutical journal advertising where to buy yasmin cheap proventil generic for does finpecia work as good as propecia cheapest abana atacand migrene dosering clarissa dickson wright quinine poisoning where can i buy acai berry juice in the uk where to buy diabecon ointment indian pharmacy diovan medrol injection hip what is ic doxycycline hyclate 100mg used for purchase mobic cheap levitra super active 10 mg cost voltaren shipping overseas where can i buy water pills top 10 online orlistat sites does medicaid cover viagra buy dutas paypal best place to buy amoxil in india can order lopid canada buy diamox patch cheap antabuse free delivery micronase delivery uk medications without prescriptions online chi ha usato atarax saroten retard bystolic 10 mg generic how to take aspirin 81 mg generic from tamoxifen common side effects of diovan order lukol tablets zestoretic low dose birth control abilify 2mg price buy rogaine 5 online from usa buy shuddha guggulu mg cytotec philippines for sale como usar premarin lozol where can i buy diclofenac gel without prescription tetracycline acne rosacea where can i buy cheap nexium genuine benzac 100mg purchase tamoxifen citrate drugs buy brand cialis online uk no prescription flovent coupons printable hytrin 40mg lotrisone tablets elocon over the couter why is there a shortage of colospa lasix drug order online para que sirve el paracetamol con amantadina y clorfenamina coumadin pharmacies sildenafil citrate 100mg how to use where valtrex beat way to order sumycin combivent medication assistance program free asacol coupons buy ralista inhaler canada rhinocort aqua order what is minipress for can you buy zebeta online tetracycline acne reviews ophthacare generic wikipedia drugs buy actos cheap order viagra professional order 2 viagra trial erection packs augmentin prices cvs isoniazid drug classification generic drug name for celebrex how long does fluoxetine take to start working risperdal for anxiety reviews viagra for sale online approved gyne-lotrimin online order pilex on line no script what is ampicillin resistance can you buy paxil over the counter in germany off label uses for renagel allegra d canadian pharmacy dostinex delivery uk purchase toradol in canada research grade tulasi order lasuna without prescription zyvox coupon online prescription list of tesco stores selling naprosyn sale viramune is generic cystone available in usa purchase zovirax accutane 40 mg once a week duphalac where can i buy it avapro spain over counter what types of zerit are there tegretol prix en pharmacie en france gabapentin no prescription needed order keppra medication by mail zyvox pfizer lawsuit geodon zestril next day delivery low price blopress uk all types finax pills propecia walgreens benzac pill shortage cheapest plavix online ortho tri cyclen lo do you have to take the green pills mexican pharmacy dot com dot mx cipla indian company entocort non perscription countries buy orlistat online in uk celexa low blood pressure diflucan dosage for yeast infection for children order augmentin medication by mail order non generic anafranil xenical 120mg does it work what kind of medicine is strattera bupron sr over the counter craigslist posted apartment in manchester ct buy celadrin usa how to order zyprexa toradol tablets 10mg ordering brand viagra generic canadian pharmacy acheter provera erythromycin estolate tablets dosage tadalafil citrate dosing alliant mexico city campus free coupons for medication prandin zovirax limited india low cost prednisolone vermox medication information epivir-hbv non perscription countries zoloft no script how long does it take for accutane to show results where to buy innopran xl how long to use prilosec vipps buy viagra vantin prices cvs cheap tamoxifen tablets viagra uk delivery side effects of zithromax in adults frumil drugs trental 400 mg erfahrungen what does xalatan treat buy mesalamine no prescription drugstore order acticin buy online uk cheap kamagra zovirax dispersible 400 mg buy lynoral bulk signs ovulation 100mg clomid inderal without prescription to buy lisinopril generic for prilosec genrx doxycycline tablets side effects where to buy eulexin drugs online coreg medication online can you buy viagra toronto benfotiamine reviews order antabuse canada fincar mg tablet buy alligators uk canadian original serophene online cipro filmtablet 500 mg buy alligators in illinois online where to get suhagra pct olanzapine and fluoxetine hcl capsules vermox prescriptions micardis 160 mg dose how much will dostinex cost get flomax toronto alli diet pill user reviews where to get avalide pct national socialist movement united kingdom tetracycline doxycycline minocycline acne fluoxetine now is antivert available in canada xeloda online store accutane lawsuit november 2011 where to buy reglan online buy feldene for daily use ipratropium bromide albuterol sulfate steroid seroflo prices at costco buy adalat with click here donde comprar buspar augmentin suspension dosage for adults bupropion cost comparison flexeril 10mg tab ramipril side effects comprar proscar colombia best pharmacy to order brand advair diskus pharmacy mexico venlor ventolin nebulizer dose for infant eulexin online meds moduretic 40 mg dose alesse generico italiano how much is amaryl tablets how to order bactrim online where to buy viagra in hong kong lasix new zealand rumalaya gel comprar why was alesse discontinued mexican pharmacy no prescription bactrim viagra a avignon zyrtec pills look like what are some household pills that can get you high omnicef spain no prescription xenical sale free coupon for eldepryl methylprednisolone side effects 4 mg minocycline tablet sale blue lotus pills effects vente de trental au quebec is zyprexa legal in uk chlamydia symptoms men pics viagra online delivery germany acquistare ciplox in italia innopran xl no prescription code glucophage pills used buy abilify 20 pharmacy comprar female viagra pela internet is asacol hd better than asacol what does zetia pill look like information on benicar medication buy tegretol greece nolvadex direct pharmacy clomid medication infertility aleve cause weight gain vega 100 tablets manufacturers albendazole side effects humans donde puedo comprar cytotec sin receta en lima seroquel high blood pressure side effects generic 250 50 advair diskus north american rogaine championships 2011 trimix online no prescription pastillas cytotec precio venezuela ordering low dose diclofenac misoprostol generico funciona igual cytotec is topamax generic liquid doxycycline review levitra commercial actor suhagra drugstore.com pill identifier xanax pictures luvox for sale uk finast how to buy overseas pharmacy no prescription pletal cheap biaxin 500mg orlistat tablets purchase on line
Know how

Article categories

Grow your own

Whatever the scale of your ambitions or plot you'll find something useful here.

Make your own

Reduce your footprint by making your own, from knitting to soap-making to adorning your home.

Livestock and pets

Find out about rearing livestock from the farm to the garden, and doing the best for your pets.

Energy efficiency and construction

Discover how to adapt, change and even build your own home to enable you to tread more lightly upon the planet.

Cooking, preserving and home brewing

From the home brewery to ambitions of chefly grandeur. Find out how to do it all here and really taste the difference.

Wild food

Subsidise the larder in a sustainable way. From fishing, to shooting, to foraging safely, find it among these articles.

Conservation and the environment

Conserve our world for future generations. See how you can help in these pages.


From shopping with a conscience to building your own enterprise. Find advice and encouragement among these pages.

Everything else

Sometimes the diversity of downsizing can throw up an unusual topic.


Past editorial items from the downsizer front page.

You are here: Home arrow Articles arrow Wild food arrow Top Ten Wild Foods to Gather in Winter


Top Ten Wild Foods to Gather in Winter

Written by Cab

Foraging through winter sounds like hard work; it's colder, it's wetter, you'd think that it's a pretty thankless task. And while it's true that you'll be wanting to wear a waterproof and a good pair of boots, it is surprising how many wild foods remain common through the dark winter months. That is especially true in these years of mild winters we have now; as I sit and re-write this article in the middle of December, we still haven't had a proper frost here in Cambridge, I'm still gathering sorrel and wild rocket. As the seasons get ever warmer, that kind of winter forage will be more and more common.

I'm not setting out to give an exhaustive list of things to gather through winter. I've just picked out some good, fairly common ones; a couple of fruit, some fungi, and some greens (a balanced diet!). I hope that after reading this article you will be encouraged to wander out and see what's growing. You could be very surprised.

(1) Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus cornucopiae)

The oyster mushroom is one of my favourite winter forages, although they can be found at any time of year. I've got a personal tradition of looking for as near as I can to the longest and shortest days of the year, and as often as not (if summer has been wet!) I'll manage that.

Now, that doesn't mean that oyster mushrooms are all hugely prolific all year. It isn't usually the same log or tree stump (the habitat of the oyster mushroom) that is fruiting on both days, more often it's a different patch. That's because individual patches seem to have different 'stress' responses; some to frost, some to dry spells, etc. And generally it's a frost response that gets them going in winter.

So look for them especially after a frost; anything from two days to a week after a hard frost. If the weather has been a little more temperate, you can expect to find oyster mushrooms fruiting. Use wild oyster mushrooms in just the same way as shop-bought ones; they're a tasty, textured mushroom suited to stir-frying, stews and soups.

(2) Blewits (Lepista nuda, Lepista saeva)

Field blewit, otherwise known as the bluey or bluebutton

Wood blewit; the younger specimens like this are easier to identify, especially backed up with a spore print, than the older ones. At least until you get your eye in.

I think of all of the mushrooms I've picked, blewits might be my favourite. It isn't just because of the flavour (although that's intensely mushroomy with some vague floral undertones). It's more because of where and how they grow.

Field blewits (Lepista saeva) are common on grassland, in parks, gardens, etc. across most of England from around October through until January (sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later). They're unassuming toffee-coloured chaps that grow prolifically in rings, the caps ranging from a centimetre or two across anything up to 15 centimetres or more. It isn't until you upturn one that you see the violet stem (this fades in bigger, older specimens), but it's when you lift it to your nose that you learn what blewits are all about; the rich, earthy, floral smell that will perfuse anything you cook with them. And, best of all, they're nigh on indestructible. They survive frost, they cope with snow (they'll be fine after it melts and runs off them), rain just makes them wet... and that means that no matter what winter throws at you, you can find some!

Wood blewits (Lepista irina) are more delicate, but more intensely violet in colour (fading to brown as they age), and if anything even more floral.

Blewits are a great accompaniment for meat dishes. They go very well with beef, pigeon, hare or rabbit. I like to exploit their aromatic flavour by matching them up with juniper berries, sage and thyme. In the East Midlands it is traditional to stew them with milk; make a sauce by softening some onions, add in the chopped stems, cook until soft, and then make a white sauce around this, with the sliced mushroom caps added and cooked in for half an hour. Season well, and serve on a bed of mashed potatoes.

(3) Nettle (Urtica dioica)

I know what you're thinking. Nettles? In Winter? Those unappealing dried up stems?

That isn't what I'm talking about, of course. Look more closely at the clumps of stinging nettle, and you may be pleasantly surprised to see new, fresh growth at and near the base. It will be intensely green, soft (still stingy!) and lush, and it makes capital eating.

Gather your nettles with care; wear gloves when picking and preparing them or you'll regret it. Wash them, removing any bits of old stem or any tough material, and then cook them through rather like spinach, adding a little nutmeg. Or use them in soup. They're tasty, and very nutritious.

(4) Chickweed (Stellaria media)

This is one of my favourite greens, and it can be found poking around the edge of fields, vegetable patches, pretty much anywhere there's disturbed ground. Its little white flowers and tiny little green leaves belie the fact that this plant has a superb, succulent texture and a flavour not unlike a cross between cress and spinach.

I eat this one raw, in salads, more or less all year. It is of course especially useful in winter when there is so little else around. Mixed with some lettuce and sorrel, it's a great ingredient in a winter salad.

(5) Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)

We all know the humble dandelion. Many people seem obsessed with eradicating it from their lawns and flower beds, but for me it's a welcome visitor. It's a tasty, productive, and versatile little weed.

In Winter, you won't find many flowers (although keep your eye open and likely as not you'll find it flowering at any time), but you'll find plenty of leaves. And this is also the time to dig up the roots.

The leaves will be a little bitter; mix them in with some good lettuce and sorrel in a salad, and make sure that you sample your dandelion leaves before serving, just to make sure you haven't picked any really nasty ones. Serve the leaf salad with croutons and crispy fried slivers of bacon, and you've got a filling little side dish.

Dig roots up in early winter, and give them a good clean. Then you can dry them out in an oven, grind them up and roast them for dandelion coffee (tastes just like French coffee with chicory, pre-sweetened and kind of milky. Not to my tastes, but a handy caffeine-free drink nonetheless). Alternatively you can fry them in chunks in a little oil, add some soy sauce, and cook down till softened.

(6) Rose (Rosa canina and related species)

Rose hips start ripening in Summer, and through Autumn and into Winter you'll find them slowly bletting (softening due to the release of enzymes by the fruit itself) on the bushes. They're a superbly versatile fruit that is much under-utilised, I suspect due to the traumatisation of an entire generation with awful, sickly sweet rose hip syrup.

Any quick web search will reveal dozens of recipes for rose hips. From the infamous syrup, through to jellies, jams, and puddings all the way to some savoury favourites of mine such as rose hip soup. Dried they make a fine herbal tea.

Just make sure that, whatever you cook, you get rid of the seeds. Normally that's achieved by cooking to a pulp and straining, but make absolutely sure that you do not crush them as that imparts a rather unpleasant, bitter tang to the finished dish.

(7) Medlar (Mespilus germanica)

The medlar is a not-uncommon little deciduous tree found in the Midlands and South of Britain, being a little bit less common further North. Its fruit is an unappetising looking thing, kind of dull green to brown, with pointy fronds on the end of it. All in all not something you'd expect to be good to eat. It doesn't even ripen properly in Britain.

The tree eventually gives up on its fruit. Some time around October or November the medlars start to soften on the tree, to ‘blet', at which point they turn brown, pulpy, and sweet. Sort of like stewed pears. And all of a sudden they're delicious.

I like to eat them just as they are, squeezing the flesh out and leaving the skin, spitting the hard stones out as I eat them. But they also adapt well to pies and puddings. Picked earlier in the year before they blet, they make a super jelly, but for me that wastes what is otherwise a rare treat; a fruit that can be picked and eaten straight off the tree right through to December in a good year.

(8) Cow Parsley ((Anthriscus sylvestris) and related species)

Cow parsley - common as muck, but until you get your eye in, leave it alone!

Common as muck, but dangerously similar to other wild, poisonous umbellifers, I wouldn't recommend picking it to anyone who isn't entirely confident in their ability to distinguish it from the water dropworts, rough chervil, and hemlock. But if you are up to it, it's a great wild plant.

It forms little crowns of leaves in winter. You'll find it even through the snow. It is the nearest wild relative of chervil, as you can tell by its flavour. It's a super addition to herb risottos, herb breads and green salads, and I also use it to flavour potato soup.

Sweet cicely, an aromatic, sweet relative of cow parsley

Further West and to the North (and sporadically in the South and South East) you'll find sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) growing too. You find it less often in winter, but you do get it. The sweetest, most aromatic of the wild umbellifers.

(9) Ground Elder (Aegopodium podagraria), and Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum)

Ground elder poking its nose up through the leaves and ivy in early December

Ground elder is a weed. It's a really common, evil weed that is a nightmare to eradicate from your garden. It's a common feature of Radio 4's ‘Gardeners Question Time'; panellists will discuss how exactly to eradicate it, and almost always the solution is to nuke it with glyphosate (except for Bob Flowerdew, who of course suggests that you keep digging it out for the rest of your life). I, however, would like to suggest a different solution. Eat it. With gusto. Sooner or later (probably later), if you keep taking the green leaves off it to eat, it'll die.

The Romans, who grew ground elder as a vegetable, introduced this weed along with several other wild umbellifers to the British Isles. Until the late Middle Ages it was found in vegetable and herb gardens all over the country, until the British decided that they really didn't like vegetables with flavour and inexplicably went off it.

And it is a superb green vegetable, but a sod to kill off. Use that to your advantage; pick the young greens throughout the year, making the plants throw more up. Use the leaves in salad when they're young and soft and cook them like cabbage (steamed gently) as they age. Even into winter, you'll find them growing happily in woodlands and hedgerows, and as long as they haven't got too tough they make fine eating.

Alexanders, as you see them in Winter

Another of the big, leafy umbellifers you'll find (most especially around the coasts but sporadically inland) is Alexanders. Another Roman introduction, it is a biennial or short-lived perennial plant that seeds freely on cliffs and in hedgerows near the Sea in much of the South of Britain. It's the tender, pale green leaves that form rosettes after the flower stalks have died down in Summer that you'll be picking through the winter. Be sparing, of course. Leave enough on the plant to see it through the harsh weather.

Use it in the same way as ground elder, but if anything it's even more aromatic.

(10) Apple (Malus sp.)

Little red crab apples - these ones were still on the tree at the end of January

You're familiar with crab apples, of course, and you all know what ordinary apples look like. But did you ever go looking for crab apple trees in winter? It's astonishing how long the fruit cling to the trees, sometimes persisting until the storms of January knock them off.

The sheer variety of apples you'll find growing wild is staggering; from hard little balls of acid, right through to aromatic, sweet scented giants. You can find a range of apples growing wild, right into the winter.

And as long as they're intact, they'll be useful to you. Crab apples may be tart, but use that to your advantage. I like to stack them under a joint of pork, mashing them in the juices at the end with maybe a little brown sugar to make a great roast apple sauce. I soak them in gin, with sugar, to make a rather savage drink to take to parties. They add in with rose hips or rowans to make a jelly. Be creative and you'll find no end of uses for them.