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A Foraging Ramble Through Summer’s Bounty

A Foraging Ramble Through Summer’s Bounty

As summer arrives, the countryside becomes a treasure trove of seasonal wild foods waiting to be discovered. Imagine setting out on a warm, sunny day, the air filled with the sweet scent of blooming flowers and the hum of bees. With each step, the land around you reveals its hidden gems, inviting you to explore and taste the season’s best offerings.

Whether you’re a novice forager eager to dip your toes into this delightful pastime or a seasoned wild foodie looking to expand your pantry, summer is the perfect time to immerse yourself in nature’s bounty. Join us on a foraging ramble through the countryside as we highlight some of our favourite wild foods found from June to September, complete with tips for identification and delicious recipe ideas.

Safety is paramount when foraging, especially with wild food and medicine, as the old saying goes; “If in doubt, leave it out.” We always recommend bringing at least two guidebooks on your foraging adventures: one with photographs and one with diagrams, to give you a more rounded picture and accurate identification.  The following selections are drawn from Your Wild Food Year, our popular online foraging course, where we explore monthly foraging opportunities, share recipes, and feature guest speakers. If you’re keen to develop your foraging skills, check out the FREE course content here.

Now, let’s delve into six of our favourite wild foods of summer. We hope you’ll enjoy discovering and savouring them as much as we do.



Picture strolling along a sun-dappled hedgerow, the air fragrant with the sweet scent of elderflowers. Elderflower, with its clusters of tiny, creamy-white flowers, is one of the most accessible wild foods to forage. You’ll often find it in along sunny hedgerows, open scrub and woodland edges. The flowers bloom from late May through early July, creating a striking contrast against the green foliage.

wild food foraging - elderflower

Left: Elderflowers in full bloom. Centre: leaves typically have 5 leaflets. Right: A small tree in the hedgerow

To identify elderflower, look for its distinctive clusters (umbels) of small, star-shaped flowers that point upwards, accompanied by leaf made up of (typically) 5 smaller leaflets, each with a serrated edge. Harvest the entire flower head on a dry, sunny day for the best flavour.

Elderflower is incredibly versatile. Use it to make a refreshing tea or cordial, or try your hand at brewing elderflower champagne or cider. For a sweet treat, transform the flowers into sorbet or batter and fry them. Remember to leave some flowers on the tree to enjoy the rich, dark berries in autumn, perfect for syrups and natural remedies.

wild food foraging - elderflower

Left: Elderflower cordial, a classic recipe, Centre: Elderflower cheesecake with wild rose syrup, Right: Elderflower sorbet with wild strawberries


Winberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) are what we call them here in Wales. You might know them as bilberries. They are a delightful find, often hidden in the heathland’s low-growing foliage. These small, dark berries are packed with flavour, surpassing their larger, commercially grown relative, the blueberry. They thrive in acidic soil, often sharing space with heather, sitting under birch or oak in upland areas.

wild food foraging - winberry

Left: Tiny berries bursting with flavour. Centre: the leaf of winberry. Right: Berries on the low-lying bush

The leaves of the winberry plant are small, oval, and bright green with a finely serrated edge. The berries appear from July through September, so they have a long season for gathering. Foraging for winberries can be a bit of a treasure hunt, as they tend to hide beneath the foliage, but the reward is well worth the effort.

Our top tip is to invest in a berry picker (see the picture), which speeds up your harvesting no end.

These berries make an excellent trail snack, or you can gather enough to use in summer puddings, pancakes, or boil them down into a coulis or syrup for cheesecake.

wild food foraging - winberry

Left: A mixed berry salad in syrup. Centre: Summer pudding, a highlight of the year. Right: Winberry syrup



Fat hen (Chenopodium album) is a real opportunist, sprouting up in bare soil. So, look for it as you wander through disturbed ground such as compost heaps, neglected garden borders, allotments, farmyards, and ploughed field edges. It’s a plant often dismissed as a weed by gardeners and allotment owners. Yet, it offers a delicious, spinach-like taste that’s less bitter and more versatile in the kitchen.

wild food foraging - fat hen

Left: Leaf shape is changeable, sometimes spade-like as seen. Centre: Growing in disturbed ground. Right: Always go for the most tender leaves and stems when picking.

Fat hen leaves can be variable in shape, but they are typically roughly diamond-shaped and with a large serrated edge. A coating of dusty white meal on the top leaves makes them easy to identify. This “frost” distinguishes it from other plants with similar leaves. Although there aren’t many poisonous lookalikes it is worth mentioning that there are some members of the potato family that have similar leaves, most dangerous being Black Nightshade, so be sure to get to know this plant too before setting out with your basket.

Use fat hen as you would spinach—add it to curries, steam it, or toss it into pasta or stir-fries. It doesn’t take a lot of cooking so throw it in the pan at the end. Be cautious of potential lookalikes like black nightshade, and stick to the frosted leaves for safety.

wild food foraging - fat hen

Left: Look for the white “frosting” on the top leaves. Centre: Fat hen & orache tart. Left: Steamed as a side vegetable – delicious.



Wild cherries (Prunus avium) are a true summer delight. The trick is in getting to them before the birds do. The sweet fruits can seem to be here one day and stripped to almost nothing the next. So, pick out your tree earlier in the season and visit it regularly as the ripening time approaches.

wild food foraging - wild cherry

Left: Ripe cherries on the branch in late June. Centre: The distinctive bark of Wild Cherry. Right: Glossy leaves with a finely serrated edge and also unripe cherries.

We’ve had some great cherry harvests from urban trees, but trees planted as ornamentals are often cultivars favoured for their blossom rather than fruit. So as well as seeking them in town parks and village greens look for them standing above hedgerows also. The bark of the wild cherry tree is unmistakable, with shiny horizontal stripes called lenticels. The oval, serrated leaves are accompanied by clusters of cherries that transition from green to yellow and red as they ripen.

Harvest wild cherries in mid-late June and early July, but taste a few before collecting a large batch to ensure they’re not bitter. These cherries are perfect for summer puddings, dessert sauces, or sprinkled on breakfast dishes. If picked slightly underripe, cooking can soften them up nicely.

wild food foraging - wild cherry

Left: Cherries can be eaten right off the tree. Centre: Halved, stoned & ready to be used for cooking. Right: Cherry pie, always a favourite.


Imagine walking through a meadow and spotting the large, umbrella-shaped parasol mushrooms (Macrolepiota procera). These distinctive mushrooms are easy to identify by their snakeskin-patterned stem and raised brown scales on the cap. As they mature, the cap unfurls, leaving a white collar around the stem. This white collar can be gently detached to then run up and down the stem, a handy identifying feature.

When young they can resemble an old-fashioned microphone, but as the cap opens they take on the form which gives them their name and recognisable profile. They can get large too, up to the size of a dinner plate.

wild food foraging - parasol mushrooms

Left: A young mushroom, before the cap has opened. Centre: Under the gap are creamy white gills. Right: The shape that gives this mushroom its common name, like an umbrella.

The place it’s most common to see these mushrooms is in undisturbed meadows and grassland but you do occasionally see them in open broadleaf woodland as well. The main lookalike to this distinguished mushroom is the Shaggy Parasol (Macrolepiota rhacodes) which is edible but has been known to give some people a mild upset stomach. So, get to know this species too. Our advice to beginners would be to try a little bit of your parasol and see if it leads to any upset. If nothing happens by the following day then you’ve got yourself a very good wild food, one of the best.

Parasol mushrooms are delicious and versatile, suitable for pies, stir-fries, or pasta sauces. They also dry very well for long-term storage, retaining their fragrance and flavour.

wild food foraging - parasol mushrooms

Left: Parasol and partridge stir fry. Centre: A bumper harvest of parasols. Right: This fungi dries and stores well.


Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) has a bad reputation, it’s probably not your favourite plant. But we’d like to try and change your mind. Nettles are possibly one of the most nutritious plants you can find, and they grow absolutely everywhere.

The most known foraging season is spring when the leaves are at their best – we love them. But nettle is a hidden gem for the summer forager also.  The seeds the nettle produces in July to August, are flavourless but are particularly jam packed with nutrients well worth getting into your diet.

nettle seeds - wild food & foraging

Left: The mature seeds on the female plant. Centre: The dense clusters of seeds are attached to a pendulous stalk. Right: The flowers found on a male plant, not for harvesting.

Nettle seeds are a hidden gem of the foraging world. Female nettles (there are separate male and female plants) produce large, drooping clusters of tiny seeds. Harvest these seeds by cutting the clusters off with scissors and pushing them through a sieve with a spoon to separate the unwanted stalks. This process also removes any remains of those troublesome stings.

Use nettle seeds as a nutrient-rich addition to salads, pasta dishes, yogurt, or breakfast cereals. They are virtually flavourless, making them a versatile superfood that can be sprinkled on almost anything. One of our favourite recipes is Lea’s raw chocolate energy balls which are packed with the seeds to give you a much needed boost to your day.

nettle seeds - wild food & foraging

Left: Seeds ready to be processed. Centre: Italian pasta with ash key capers and nettle seed sprinkles. Right: Chocolate energy balls, packed with nettle seeds.


If the idea of foraging for wild food excites you, consider enrolling in our online course, “Your Wild Food Year.” This course offers a wealth of resources to help you become a confident forager, with monthly guides, recipes, videos, and expert advice. You can find out more right here.

“The course is so engaging and fun, I’ve learnt so much. Really awesome and would certainly recommend.” – Claire Roumph

Discover the joy of finding, harvesting and cooking with wild food with the very best each month has to offer. You will learn what to look for, where to look, and what to do with it in the kitchen. You will have videos, photo galleries, recipes and more at your fingertips, all taught by experienced foragers.

There’s also a FREE introductory version of the course to get you started. Begin your journey to discovering, harvesting, and cooking with wild food today. Register for the free wild food course here.

Check out our short video to learn all about our online foraging course Your Wild Food Year.

Happy foraging folks.

Lea & James

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