what does hyzaar lamisil tablets (terbinafine) uk furosemide dosage for adults xeloda drug schedule wellbutrin sr can be shipped to india where acivir pills inyeccion de lincocin con eucalipto online pharmacy mexico review i keep getting spam emails from canadian pharmacy one click pharmacy ltd united support services az vigra paypal account are ed drugs covered by insurance cheap depakote uk overnight safe motilium buy cytotec australia citalopram side effects rxlist tesco pharmacy jobs manchester allegra usa k didronel reviews for men benadryl online australia buy xenical without a prescription where can i get lamisil tablets luvox delivered to your home what is bupron sr 150 triamterene hctz 37.5 25 mg cp buy pravachol in australia where to buy renagel online canada safe nitroglycerin buy can you buy motrin over the counter in germany hctz 12.5 lisinopril 20mg tab can you buy cialis over counter usa buy topamax astrailia where purchase finast cheap generic viagra overnight delivery naproxen dosage for adults cephalexin drugs india how to take care of an amaryllis plant effects of women taking viagra a good web page to buy metformin with no script to buy micardis best canadian pharmacies online long term side effects of amlodipine cheapest cordarone where can i buy amoxil tablets what is amoxil 500mg the online drugstore reviews american phenergan order zerit tablets buy cyklokapron pills online cialis canada online buy maxalt mg online isoniazid tablets purchase on line biaxin canada cozaar usa cvs prices buy genuine snovitra super power uk safe crestor buy mail-order singulair what is tricor medicine for order digoxin free shipping trust pharmacy viagra online pharmacy carbozyne lowest priced dilantin osteoporosis medicine actonel hyzaar suppositories buy max menzies mathematics buy dilantin 100mg online indian generics online prevacid suhagra from usa pharmacy erythromycin australia companies only clarithromycin 500mg tablets side effects wv ginseng prices 2012 metformin generic brand buy phentermine 37.5 mg tablets acheter kamagra gold pas cher can we trust diflucan online generic malegra fxt overnite shipping serpina legal us ordering protonix prevacid refills cheap maxaman no prescription pariet pills online in the usa buy trileptal online cheap cost of serevent diskus plus no prescription pill store buy levitra online amitriptyline for pain nerve seroquel on line in the canada celexa rxlist seroflo women buy side effects of albendazole in children zaditor canadian pharmacy what are the side effects of paroxetine cefixime not generic buy tretinoin (retin-a) uk flagyl er sale can you buy kamagra london buy lady era 40 buy omnicef no prescription fast delivery acheter provera pas cher acheter cytotec avortement what is the difference between levitra and levitra professional cymbalta new zealand best price claritin viagra sublingual best price yasmin side effects uk colchicine overseas pharmaceutical companies india can buy prevacid online inderal next day shipping i pill elavil website identifier mg where to purchase cardizem who has prilosec on sale asthma inhalers without prescriptions best site to buy betnovate cabgolin order online is there a generic for keppra buy kytril in usa order coreg online uk global stats counter methotrexate and cough medicine how to buy benfotiamine in london buy tegretol tablets online losec capsules 20mg promethazine with codeine syrup high alli tablets lloyds allopurinol prescription medication augmentin 375mg tablets emc implicane buy cheap aciphex pills alli available again western drug zithromax pharmacy that sells amaryl mail-order toprol xl discount canadian pharmacy diarex what is nolvadex for men buy generic diamox cleocin gel online store can order dulcolax canada skelaxin 40 mg pharmacy buy ranitidine online cheap levitra plus buy online harry from one direction chlamydia is patanase better than astelin lipitor with american express non prescription premarin pharmacy comprar kamagra soft portugal unisom 20 mg side effects of antibiotics zithromax antibiotico dosis suppliers of actos in us trental 400 generic generic speman overnite shipping where to buy cialis online forum buy isoptin capsules micronase wanted online review buy tamoxifen canada estrogen buy purinethol capsules buy suprax discount canadian most reliable place to buy sumycin online where can i purchase altace brand bystolic for sale roxithromycin 300mg dosierung acai hp order best site to buy lanoxin can you only get sinemet on prescription culturismo sin tonterias 20 mg of levitra is to or viagra discount kamagra uk what does the word aleve mean drug market order motilium purchase vpxl in mexico brand brand viagra buy aciphex for daily use canada cabgolin women buy protonix stomach pills oral zyvox cost crestor online without rx buy ephedraxin with no rx what has happened to allie brosh glycomet no prrescription alli para adelgazar precio maximum safe dosage of neurontin walgreens canada rd hwy 64 promethazine codeine actoplus met refill pack buy over the counter chloramphenicol online do i need a prescription for voltaren gel do i need a prescription for zovirax cream minocycline better than doxycycline acne what cold medicine is safe with prednisone hydrochlorothiazide tablets india what is casodex made of prednisone prednisolone interchangeable cialis soft shop net is there any medicine for abortion one month 600mg norfloxcin canadian super kamagra bestellen paypal minoxidil 12.5 buy lipitor uk toradol australia pharmacy donde comprar lisinopril low antivert allegra vs zyrtec for children all types clonidine pills zetia maximum dosage hytrin spain over counter cheap lynoral buy online rumalaya reviews and dosage aspirin lowest price amiloride hcl dose xeloda online in usa exelon stock buy or sell buy plendil visa speman no prescription needed para que se usa el medicamento lisinopril onde comprar aciclovir antabuse side effects while drinking cymbalta 40 mg dose what does torsemide do liposafe india class action lawsuit against nexium how to get us prescriptions filled in canada estrace with no rx aldactone canadian pharmacy advair diskus online usa no prescription haldol overseas overnight erection packs 2 online without probleme low price clozaril uk lisinopril hctz 20 25 mg side effects generic pills for penegra do i need a prescription for antivert prescription drug sales statistics side effects of himcocid 123 reg voucher code voltaren pills alcohol lithium where to get voltaren prescription cardura canada head office acheter prandin what does ashwagandha help 2 claritin pills how to take bactrim ds tablets generic drug for detrol la where to alliance spend honor points non prescription diclofenac pharmacy buy elocon paypal citalopram precio mexico can you buy a generic singulair keppra lawsuit canadian health card address change albenza suppositories buy cheap pharm discount code proventil pills buy online eldepryl online forum baclofen rezeptfrei online bestellen long term side effects of fincar where to buy nitrofurantoin cost of generic lexapro buy minocin 80 mg online early chlamydia symptoms in men buy mentax with paypal pyridium max dose buy synthroid online without rx onde comprar xeloda 500mg propecia 100mg cheap dapoxetine generic cheap costs order ginseng coffee famvir online uk american avandamet what is ginseng used for in energy drinks viagra plus from usa pharmacy baby fertility drug clomiphene clomid serophene milophene buy generic trandate online female cialis delivery london acheter du plavix how to use acai berry cleanse and fat burn cleanse cafergot where to get canadian pharmacy femara what gas is produced when calcium carbonate caco3 s reacts with hydrochloric acid prilosec mexico generic buy fast torsemide deleviery doxycycline maximum dosage can i order zanaflex no prescription in the usa safe nizagara buy buy unisom greece lansoprazole 30 mg wikipedia discount code for unisom is mail order imuran safe trial erection packs 3 overnight pharmacy orlistat costa rica canadian pharmacy viagra scam children benadryl generic top 10 online canadian pharmacies biaxin buy no prescription purchase zofran online wellbutrin fast heart rate avalide overnight buy hyzaar online canada order clozaril tablets where can i buy panera acai berry tea stromectol woldwide shipping comprar atrovent pela internet maximum safe dosage of trazodone kamagra gold medication side effects order aricept 23 mg prednisolone cheap india pharmacy keftab billig kaufen buying zenegra in manchester is it legal to buy viagra grifulvin v shop net meclizine for sale online where to buy viagra in auckland que es lincocin con eucalipto anticonceptivos yasmin precio mexico bupropion prices costco rumalaya gel pills cost of doxycycline in australia online pharmacy uk betapace half price duetact canadianpharmacymeds com legitimate acheter pas cher vpxl what are prednisone pills used for cost of alli diet pills topamax on line in the canada medrol tablets for dogs cytotec sale baguio how much does viagra cost in tijuana naprosyn delivery uk haridra spain comprar periactin online buy ampicillin in india online symptoms of withdrawal from trazodone insomnia haldol mail order india where can i buy remeron in canada decadron pill shortage why doxycycline price increase overnight buy amaryl fedex kamagra soft usa sale where viagra professional casodex shelf life effexor xr online in uk sinemet 100 25 rm buy cozaar 50mg online norvasc no prrescription can you get high off desyrel viagra professional legal us can you take diovan daily levaquin australia price alternative viagra products aciclovir mg buy acheter pas cher finax accutane rx requirements albenza where to purchase purchasing diclofenac gel online eurax hc cream side effects janssen cilag products list buy aciphex in india online buy cheap trimox online amoxil im toradol shortage where to get plavix legal buy elocon online canada aldactone noprescrition needed uk online pharmacy keppra xr generic reviews methotrexate mg canadian rx safe apcalis sx buy glucophage no script buy bactrim tablets usa why is there a shortage of dramamine buy proscar tablets canada morning after pill over the counter walmart finax buy on line buy nimotop in ireland nike air max 2012 on sale terramycin 100mg cheep buy topamax online from india canadian bulletin history medicine ortho tri cyclen lo missed 3 pills +canada pharmacies cialis diovan medication otc equivalent to metformin shuddha guggulu side effects uk discount canadian pharmacy ditropan celexa next day viagra from india forum generic allegra sams club generic for lipitor availability purchasing acai online cheap styplon pills cabgolin usa buy colchicine new zealand online order viagra from canada with my master catrd online pain pills order valtrex dose for prophylaxis buy actos uk diet can you buy viagra with no prescription cheapest place to buy atrovent baclofen drug store online canadian glucotrol xl craigslist belfast cas wellbutrin xl generic vs brand 2012 abilify without a prescription from canada cialis super active from india can you just take powder amoxicillin order bupropion online us cheap amoxil usa pharmacy cialis super active mg order retino-a cream 0,025 without a prescription buy revatio online reviews cost of yagara without insurance buy leukeran online cheap coupon for advair diskus 500 50 buy viagra online us comprar levitra mexico what is asthma attack fast retin-a 0,05 deleviery buy nexium hong kong buy baytril online uk combivent ships from india cheap effexor xr mg how fast can you get pregnant while taking metformin order propranolol online no prescription with a echeck acheter un livre pas cher generic finpecia cost betnovate pharmacy prices list bentyl abuse side effects donde puedo comprar singulair transgender resources for allies the online drugstore calan alli available india order viagra cheapest what is tenormin 50mg keflex dosage for cystitis purchase prinivil 20 mg sumycin overseas lipitor online overnight shipping buy erexin online thru paypals paroxetine shoppers drug mart best price for sinemet buy protonix pills in the australia nizagara drugs steroids prednisone side effects viagra pills boots why was elavil discontinued side effects of cefixime arava retail price buy biaxin online no prescription united states where can i buy prednisone tablets without prescription in the netherlands vicodin online paypal top 10 online bystolic sites is it safe to order zyprexa keftab women buy viagra super active refill pack can you crush tegretol tablets online sale of maxalt doxazosin billig kaufen acai with green tea capsules 1500mg aldactone roche precio argentina buy ephedraxin without rx order controlled substances without rx online best generic zovirax sites diclofenac medication pain lioresal echeck lotensin without prescriptions viagra online deutschland bestellen cheap us aceon online overnight viagra originally heart medication how to order femara online buy generic norvasc online how to take duphalac mg what is allopurinol medication used for side effects protonix with american express research grade malegra dxt are drugs from india safe clomid price in india buy zovirax cold sore cream is generic nootropil effective where cane i buy amaryllis top 10 meds on nclex seroflo uk online buy famvir 15mg online losec tablets 10mg pharmacy that sells cialis alli over the counter prescription drug buy aricept patch comprar flomax online can i make fml forte ordering cialis soft here in canada what is the side effect of suhagra can you buy viagra soft in ireland canadian buy oxytrol in ireland generic mircette safe buying colospa best place to buy viagra plus in canada bayer yasmin coupons rxpharmacyhealthcare where to get viagra from uroxatral spain ciproxin 750 mg tablets levaquin discount price femara canadian pharmacy is maxalt generic available norco aurum 1 prevacid by mail order which uk site to buy crestor farmacias venden alli mexico cheap generic celebrex prescription buy revatio xr without prescription kamagra cialis cost comparison order roxithromycin view topic can order viagra online canada nizoral weight gain baclofen overdose how much can you order accutane tulasi no prescription canada buy anacin boots pharmacy buying capoten for dogs generic for nexium available recommended dosage finasteride hair loss acai berry discount depakote without rx how to use avandamet buy midamor next day vardenafil hci tablets side effects of long term use of meclizine prednisona kern pharma comp 30 mg original kamagra chewable online lotrisone cream rxlist avodart generic canada cipro dosage bronchitis side effects of atorvastatin calcium 5 mg cialis+effectiveness altace for sale uk best anti depression medication 2012 how to order lariam online buy generic drugs uk motilium to buy in the uk without a prescription tramadol online no prescription uk elavil with american express buy kamagra jellyfish online uk cytotec precio mexico 2013 ranitidine shipping overseas regenon retard effet secondaire phexin tablet usage what is rimadyl for dogs side effects cialis dosage compared with viagra most reliable place to buy apcalis sx online cheap villas calan bosch cheap rogaine 6 pills side effects of zyvox buy atacand from canada buy lozol in uk buy ceftin with visa viagra super active without rx cheap us online order aceon buy cipro pills in the india compazine lawsuit buy rumalaya can i buy ginette 35 over the internet serophene western australia cheapest price singulair how long does liquid cialis take to kick in best site to buy maxaman biggest indian pharmaceutical companies buy trileptal 5 luvox discount card buy suprax cefixime 200mg can you get female viagra over the counter compare prices rhinocort betnovate-n cream best place to buy chloromycetin online actonel costco buying zoloft tricor 145 mg tablet side effects etodolac capsules amaryl diabetes drug ordering female cialis levaquin prescription medicine us online pharmacy no prescription clonidine safe place order tadacip liquid amitriptyline review low acivir pills popular products alli buy seroquel online india no prescription reviews on lotensin voveran order online order erection packs 2 prescription cheap altace drug oversea kamagranow.co.uk apcalis..html tadapox pas cher italie buy sinequan cheap overnight erection packs 11 generic comprar dostinex original cabgolin suppositories buy albendazole prescription only erexor pill shortage 25mg viagra online order accutane online forum mail order fluoxetine online vasotec india motilium discount french and indian alliances in the french and indian war what is cipro mg used to treat forzest online price frumil usa generic femcare
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 Wild Foods in September


Wild Foods in September

Written by Cab

September's changeable weather offers a wealth of surprises for the forager. A miscellany of mushrooms might be accompanied by some late greens as well as a very good chance of harvesting wild fruits that will make a good brew to accompany future hauls.

Indian Summer or Early Autumn, you never really know what September will bring till it comes. Will it rain steadily for 30 days or might the sun dominate through till October? Either way, you’re going to be able to exploit a wide range of wild foods this month, perhaps a wider range than any other.

This is the month when the mushroom takes staring role. There are dozens, if not hundreds of species of mushroom to pick in a good September, and it is extremely hard to limit myself to a few. So forgive me if this months pick of my favourite wild species is very much dominated by fungi.

But despite rather fungal bias, there are some cracking greens to be had in September. If it’s mild, you’ll find fresh growth of hogweed, cow parsley, chickweed and ground elder, and you’ll also see the annual brassicaceae such as garlic mustard and rape throwing up tender green growth.

Horse Mushrooms, Field mushrooms, etc. (edible species of agaricus)

Image    Image

These chaps headed my list for last month (August) too. Let me tell you a secret; while mushrooming snobs will wax lyrical about ceps, chanterelles, morels and suchlike, deep down they all know that the humble is as good as if not better than any of them. There’s some more detail on in the August article; here I’ve restricted myself to two, the horse mushroom and the field mushroom. For their other tasty relatives, see that article instead.

You all know . They’re the shop bought mushrooms, field mushrooms and horse mushrooms. But the genus doesn’t end there, and within it there are many more cracking mushrooms.

The field mushroom really is very like a shop bought mushroom, with white flesh bruising ever so slightly pink, pink gills turning slowly brown, and an intense, pleasantly sweet mushroomy smell. The horse mushroom is a bigger cousin of the field mushroom, growing the size of a dinner plate, staining faintly yellow as it ages, with gills that start out almost white, ageing through pink to brown.

Whereas the field mushroom is, in flavour, like a shop bought mushroom, you’ll find that the horse mushroom is somewhat different; slightly almondy, almost meaty, and very enjoyable. It makes an excellent mushroom pate, and if you have a few of them mixed with other wild mushrooms (I suggest some puffball and some boletus) then you can make one of the finest risottos you’ll ever have.

The main bad guy here is the yellow stainer, . Looking at it from a distance it is very like a horse mushroom, and until you really get your eye in or until you get really close you’ll be disappointed nearly every time you pick one up. When you bruise it, it stains an intense, vivid yellow, and it also smells rather like carbolic; less mushroomy and more chemical. The ring (the remains on the stem of where the cap joined on before opening) is also much bigger than in the related edible species. While some people get away with eating this one, others can be hospitalised by it. The lesson here is that it is rare that having a general idea about what a mushroom is can be considered enough!

Hazel Nuts (Coryllus avellana)


I’m a big fan of hazel nuts, but I rarely seem to beat the squirrels to the ripe ones. The trick is to acquire a taste for nuts that are slightly under-ripe, learn to like them at a stage before the squirrels do, when they’re young, sweet, almost milky, and you can enjoy as many as you like.

You normally see them from July onwards, but they’re probably peaking in September. While domestic hazelnuts (or cobnuts) come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, wild hazelnuts look most like the common or garden hazelnut you’ll see at the supermarket, only smaller, greener, paler.

Hazel trees don’t tend to be huge, the furry leaves are a giveaway though, you’ll spot them at any time of the year. And they’re ‘sticky’, producing many long, sappy shoots so they lend themselves to being coppiced, and as often as not the hazels you’ll find are old coppiced trees. They’re found in woods, hedgerows, overgrown parks and suchlike, and you oughtn’t have too much trouble finding them.

Hazel trees are springy, so be prepared to bend boughs down to get to the nuts. Be gentle though. More than once I’ve snapped a hazel branch into my own face!

Use them as you would any hazelnuts, but to be honest I think they’re best just broken into and munched in the field.

Giant Puffball (Langermannia gigantea)


This is another I introduced last month, but I’ve always found the monsters, the truly ginormous puffballs, in September and October. And there is nothing more exciting for any forager than to unexpectedly encounter a monster puffball!

The giant puffball is a mammoth amongst mushrooms. It is a near spherical fungal fruiting body, somewhere between a few inches and a yard or more in diameter. It is attached to the ground by a thin stem, which breaks upon ripening allowing the puffball to dry out and release spores (sometimes for a year or two) as it rolls about in the wind.

If you are lucky enough to find a young, fresh specimen (it MUST be white all the way through; as it yellows, eventually turning green and brown, it will make you sick) then you are in for a real treat. Take it home (laughing maniacally as you do so), slice it into half inch steaks, and fry it (battered or covered in egg and breadcrumbs if you like). It’s kind of like a strongly mushroom flavoured marshmallow. Or dice it for stews and soups, slice it up and add some olive oil, put in a pot and bake it... Even stuff it with mince and its own chopped innards before baking (the smell it gives out when you cook it that way is almost overpowering!). Whatever you do with it, it is a fine tasting mushroom.

Different guidebooks will give different habitats for the giant puffball, but I personally think that it grows where it likes. I’ve found them on muddy lake banks that are covered in water for two months of most years, I’ve picked it from a pile of waste soil next to a rugby pitch, and I’ve found a ring of a dozen football sized puffballs in a patch of scrubby woodland by a railway track. The only linking thing I can find is that the soil must be relatively undisturbed for a few years. I can’t really offer definitive advice on what habitat it prefers, but I will stick my neck out and say that sooner or later, if you keep your eyes open, you’ll find one.

Can’t easily be misidentified, unless you find a football in the woods.

The Pink Cracking Boletus (Boletus chrysenteron) and company…


Of all of the species covered in all of the ‘top ten’ articles for the whole year, this one is likely to be the most surprising to other foragers. It isn’t the tastiest , that honour falls to the fabulously tasty penny bun or cep,B. edulis. Nor is it even one that is highly sought after, being largely overlooked by most pickers. But it is edible, and if you know how to use it, it is useful addition to your repertoire.

The pink cracking boletus is an exceptionally common mushroom. Like other species of , it is mycorhizal, growing in association with certain trees (this one has a preference for broad leaved trees, I find oak to be one if its favourites). You’ll find it in parks, woodlands, anywhere with a bit of grass around a few trees, all through later summer and into autumn. Its pores are yellowish, bruising green, and the flesh bruises very slowly blue.

It is, as ever, imperative to avoid confusion with other species, but the identification of boletes is a lot less fraught than it might appear; according to Mabey, in his seminal work “Food for Free”, all of the in Britain that are poisonous have red or purple on the stem or the pores.

When you find your , I recommend drying it; all of the boletes benefit from the drying process, which intensifies their flavour. It’s a bit squidgy when fresh, so use it in recipes that don’t lose out from that; it makes a tasty, if slightly green pate.

Damson (Prunus domestica)


I mentioned cherry plum in July, the true plum last month, but now it is the damson that takes centre stage.

The damson is basically a small, acidic, dark skinned, uninviting looking plum. But just sometimes, the best things come in small packages, and in this case that is undoubtedly true. The damson may not seem that encouraging to eat raw (although I would urge you to let some ripen and eat them that way), but careful cooking with just a little sugar transforms the damson into the most flavoursome fruit you can possibly imagine. Indeed it is the damson that makes the best jam of all of the plums, makes the best wine (a hauntingly flavoured dark red wine, I make a gallon very sweet with seven pounds of damsons and five pounds of sugar every year) and an unbeatable crumble. Or try adding a handfull of stoned damsons to rabbit stew, or dice some up and throw them in gravy as you cook it… They’re a marvellous fruit to use.

Gnarled old damson trees are to be found in all sorts of places; it is a hedgerow favourite, its found by river banks (I know of a whole grow out orchard by a river in the Midlands), waste ground, railway banks, etc.

Blackberry (Rubus fructicosus)


Another stalwart of the wild kitchen, I’ve been recommending the blackberry for months.

If you haven’t been out looking yet, and it’s already September, go out, go now, and pick some. Really. Because there’ll be frosts soon and you’ll kick yourself for missing the bounty.

I’m sure that many of us have fond memories of picking blackberries as children, but as adults few people seem to share the excitement of gathering the juicy, sweet, staining berries. I don’t know whether it’s the associated scratches inflicted by the savage thorns, or whether it’s just that most adults are bone idol but however you look at it this is a mammoth harvest that you’d have to be a fool to miss out on. If you pick one wild species, if you only ever forage for one thing, you could do no better than the blackberry.

On a good morning, you might pick a good stone of blackberries. The first ones of the year (appearing July to September, depending where you are) are the juiciest and sweetest. They grow practically anywhere. They’re the ones at the end of the shoots, and they’re the ones you want for desserts. They can vary quite tremendously in quality and flavour, so if you find a patch you like make a mental note to keep coming back year after year, or take a cutting into cultivation.

Blackberries make a superb jam, a fine wine (on their own or combined with elderberries), they combine well with apples in pies and crumbles, they can be used in summer and autumn puddings, in fact they are incredibly versatile. My own favourite is double blackberry ripple ice cream, with some extra blackberries frozen on top.

Apple (Malus sylvestris)

p> Image

We’ve been eating apples and tossing the cores away in Britain for centuries, and of course the unattended seeds have been growing away quite happily to produce an incalculable number of varieties of apple; some cultivated, some not cultivated. As apples don’t grow true to type from seed, the apples in the wild are something of a mixed bag; the sheer, staggering variation between apple trees you’ll find growing wild is amazing. You’ll find small, hard, bullet like fruit that taste of battery acid (wild crab apples), slightly bigger unappetising ones, tiny little red ones that go pink all the way through, elongated yellow ones, big shiny red ones, watery green cooking apples… And if you open your eyes and really, really look you can find them almost anywhere. Old railway embankments provide exceptionally rich pickings, as do old parks, hedgerows, any patch of waste land that’s been left alone for a few years, etc.

Even the most sour crab apples can be used in wine, or stewed down for making fruit jellies and jams set. But make sure you give them a tentative taste, you never know just how sweet the apples from any one tree may be till you try them. Expect to find ripe apples in the wild from August until there’s a hard frost.

Parasols, and shaggy parasols

Image    Image

This months wild card; some years I find hundreds of parasols in August, in others I have to wait till September or even October before the weather turns wet enough for parasols.

While this is a princely mushroom (taller than the grass they’re growing up through, up to a foot across on slender looking stalks) a word of caution is necessary here. Firstly, be extra careful with any mushroom that has white gills and a ring; there are a lot of really nasty ones out there that fit this description. Secondly, once you’re sure you’ve identified your parasols, be sure that you eat them sparingly to begin with. While not poisonous, some people find parasols really indigestible, so take it easy till you know you’re not one of them.

Get past that, and you’re in for a treat. This mushroom does well in pastureland, light woods, and can fruit most prolifically. You’ll find it in rings most often, and you’re almost as likely to find ten as you are to find one or two. It’s good in all sorts of mushroom dishes, and when sliced it dries very well. The shape of the younger specimens makes them good candidates for stuffing, while as they age they become good as fritters, dipped in egg and bread crumbs before frying.

Shaggy Cap (Coprinus comatus)


I’m including this one here because I’ve always had my best hauls of shaggy cap mushrooms in September, but keep your eye open for it at other times, from mid summer till autumn. I used to pick this one by the bucketload when I lived in Nottingham, by the hatload on Tyneside, but here in Cambridge I’m happy with one or two. A bit of rain brings it out, and it’ll reappear on the same field over and over again.

This is a ‘here today, gone tomorrow' mushroom, in that it's an ink cap, so its shelf life is very, very short. It's always going to try to turn black and inky, as that's how it releases its spores. This is also why, as a wild mushroom, it commands an immense price in Japan (the time to get it to market is so very, very short). But on the flip side, that very softness makes it a great treat, and the short lived nature of the beast means that it is extremely unlikely that your prized specimens will be infested with maggots. You might have to flick the odd earwig out of them, though.

Cook it in soups and stews, and it more or less disappears. But the delicate flavour it imparts will more than compensate for its lack of mass. It’s also a good one in an omelette, or even just lightly fried with scrambled eggs.

This mushroom looks rather like a shaggy white guards hat. You'll find it all over waste land, sports fields, pastures, parks, basically wherever the grass gets a bit of a beating and regular water, you have a fighting chance of finding it.

Can be confused with the common ink cap, Coprinus atramentarius, a dirty grey coloured ink cap, quite different to the common ink cap in that respect, and capable of making you quite ill if you have alcohol a day either side of eating it, and the magpie ink cap (Coprinus picaeus), which is only white when young, changing to greyish black quite quickly.

Fairy Ring Mushroom (Marasmius oreades)


I introduced this one way, way back in May, and it is one that you might have been picking on and off all summer. I’m mentioning it again now because it is in September, with the early autumn rain and cooler climate, that this mushroom usually produces its fullest, most prolific growth. And now is the perfect time to get out there and pick it, and dry it for Christmas; a jar of dried wild mushrooms makes an excellent gift.

A lot of people write books on wild foods that you can find in immaculate woodlands that you never ever get to. They tell you about chanterelles, ceps, morels and the like. What they don’t tell you about is this little mushroom that forms most of the fairy rings in parks, football pitches, school playing fields, etc. And it has an almondy, mushroomy flavour as good as any other mushroom.

It isn’t so big, so you want to pick plenty for a meal. This isn’t a problem, you might find rings that are ten yards across or more, with hundreds of mushrooms on them. You get them from Spring through till Autumn, but generally I pick them after rain in May and Septemner, when there tend to be less maggot holes in them..

Be careful with this one. Really careful. You could mistake one of the toxic Clitocybe species or it, and that wouldn’t be good. Could be fatal. But once you get the eye for this mushroom, it’s a cracker, it really is.

Found one of these wild foods and want some reassurance or just to share the excitement? Get yourself on to the Foraging board on the Downsizer.net forum