I am not quite going Freegan (a term for those who collect their food and other resources from nature or dumpsters), but the local black berries are ripe. As a summer gardener, this is one crop I did not have to plant and tend to enjoy. I am going berry picking. There are several accessible areas near us, including our community garden area, Emily’s nursery, and two local parks. The berries are dark, large and sweet. In addition to just eating them, they make an excellent jam.
But they serve as an excellent reminder of some of the lost arts and knowledge that our ancestors relied upon for survival; not only in early human existence, but as recently as our grandparents. Even in my childhood, I remember the summer that we all went black berry picking up by the rail road tracks. In addition to lots of sweet berries that we made into jam, we also got a nice case of chiggers (tiny bugs that live under your skin…and ITCH!). But in the end, it was well worth the trouble. My Nanny loved her jam cake so picking fresh berries was an absolute must.
It also matches well with our Frugal Fam core values:
Family first. While Emily is still too young to do much picking, she does enjoy trying. Like I said, I have very fond memories of doing so myself as a child.
Saving money. A single packet from my grocery store costs £1.99. That would only be enough for fresh berries. A jar of jam would cost almost £10 to make…and I get it for FREE.
Environmentally friendly. What could be more environmentally friendly than foraging like this. Of course, always remember to leave enough to turn to seed and to feed our bird friends, but there are plenty for all.
Healthier. While this sort of thing is not organic, it is about as fresh as they come.
Of course, I am learning from others about other fruits and berries that are local to my new home that can also be foraged; things like elder flowers and berries for wine and cordials and rose hips for jam. And don’t forget that some really wonderful medicinal herbs grow wild as well. It may take some research on the web, but you may be surprised at the things you could find in your own backyard.