There is something so fasinating to me to be able to go wandering in your local area and find things to eat for free. The last two weeks of July here in the east of Scotland was beautiful weather, and with midsummer here comes one of my absolute favourite fruits, cherries! Now you can imagine my delight when we came across a few cherry trees just a bike ride away from our house, and with two different varieties. Red and black cherries! Hazel climbed up on daddy’s shoulders to ‘catch’ them and Ace used her new preteen height to jump and pick the ones completely out of reach (there were plenty at her level, she just liked the challenge), and I took my time admiring these beautiful trees and wondered why a lot of people don’t pick more wild things. Now it might be past season for cherries where you live, but I wanted to catch up on all the wonderful things we have done this summer and hopefully, it will encourage you to get out with your family to do some foraging for free seasonal goodies.
Being my first time eating wild cherries off a tree, I half expected these little cherries to be quite sour but they were suprisingly easy on the palette. I knew I wanted to preserve them pretty quickly too, so I made wild cherry jam for myself and the family and it’s by far better than any jam I have bought from the shop! Something incredible happens when you mix sugar with these cherries, and it draws out all those incredible flavours. I kept the jam recipe pretty simple just to see how it would turn out, and it turned out so well I went back for another batch of cherries. I also sent Alex back a third time just so we could collect a small batch as I thought they would go great in this year’s christmas cake, and by this point at lot of them had been taken by birds/other foragers etc but not the ones at the top though there must have been thousands!
We we were lucky with these trees being quite low down, but we realised that the branches can be a little out of reach for smaller ones. The tree can also be quite delicate too, so we were as careful as possible gently holding branches down to gather fruit. There’s a word in Swedish I learnt recently called ‘lagom’, which means not too much and not too little and we apply this rule when foraging. Leave plenty for other foragers, but mainly for the wildlife and take just enough for yourself. Needless to say, we were all left with smiles, memories to cherish and cherry stained fingers.
If you want to discover more about seasonal foraging with your family, check out my other blog posts and most recently 5 things to Forage with Family in Late Summer.