What to Forage in November

 

On the contrary to what you might be thinking, now summer is well and truly behind us, Mother Nature has not yet slowed down, and November is a month that is full to bursting with wild edibles. So don't put your foraging basket away quite yet; with this 'what to forage in November' guide, a woolly hat and some gloves, you can still get into the outdoors and make the most of nature's larder. 

{Just remember, before eating anything you have foraged, that you are absolutely sure it is what you think it is and to follow the foraging guidelines}


Hawthorn Berries // Crataegus monogyna

What to forage in November | Hawthorn Berries

The hawthorn tree has distinctive toothed leaves, pictured above, making it easy to identify. You might even notice that the same tree had clusters of white flowers on it earlier in the spring. As for these bright red berries however, they are ripe for eating now - just make sure you spit out the seeds if you are eating them raw, as they are not edible, and watch out for the thorns! Typically the berries are made into a jelly (once having strained the seeds) but there are lots of other recipes out there for this red fruit too. Bonus- the hawthorn berry has long been used medicinally for heart conditions, from angina to high blood pressure. 

 

Sweet Chestnuts // Castanea sativa

What to Forage in November | Sweet Chestnuts

Sweet chestnuts (distantly related to the horse chestnut tree) are unavoidably distinctive! You'll be hard pushed to find a countryside lover unable to identify this tree's famous nuts. Classically, as you are probably finding in the city's streets and markets, these nuts are roasted and dipped in sugar or salt. They need to be roasted because the skin (not the spiky outer casing) but the brown shell of the nut is inedible and the roasting process makes these husks easier to peel off so you can get to the good stuff. There are plenty of other uses for these common nuts other than a Christmas snack however; in stuffing, bread making, as a coffee substitute or made into a sweetened puree. Yum!

 

Cowberry // Vaccinium vitis-idaea

What to forage in November | Cowberries

Cowberries, otherwise known as lingonberries or partridgeberries, are the fruit of a very hardy evergreen shrub - which is why they can survive in this colder November weather. Super high in vitamins C, A and B's, they've long been used in traditional medicine and it makes them a good forage for these sickness prone colder months. With the berries being rather sharp, they are often sweetened before being eaten, and though they aren't an as well known forage in the UK, elsewhere cowberries are used a-plenty! Popular recipes include cowberry jam, syrup or a sauce traditionally had at Christmas (the berries are comparable to cranberries). 

 

Douglas Fir Pine Needles // Pseudotsuga menziesii

What to Forage in November | Douglas Fir pine needles

Perhaps surprisingly, the pine needles of many conifer trees can be foraged and used as an edible and medicinal ingredient in the kitchen. I'm focusing on douglas fir as that's what I have around me (despite not being a native). If you've identified a douglas fir, you'll notice that the newest growth of needles are usually a lighter green. Pick these as they are more tender and edible. Bonus- these pine needles are full of immune boosting vitamin C. I've infused honey with douglas fir pine needles for a sweet Christmassy accent but the needles could also be used in tea and even in biscuits!

 

Chanterelle Mushrooms

What to forage in November | Chanterelle Mushrooms

You don't need me to tell you that foraging for mushrooms can be a dangerous game so when foraging for these beautiful chanterelles make sure you take a mushroom guide with you. There are look-a-likes to the chanterelle that you definitely would not want to ingest. Saying that, if you have confidently identified chanterelles, lucky you! These yellow coloured, meaty and funnel-shaped mushrooms are among the most popular species of mushrooms to eat and are coveted among good restaurants. If you are lucky enough to find some, I would simply gently sautee them and have them on toast to enjoy their full flavour.


So there you have it! A short guide for what to forage in November. Let me know if you find any of the above on your walks and if you have transformed your finds into something fantastic in the kitchen. 

What to forage in November | A guide by The Foraged Life
What to forage in November | A guide by The Foraged Life