Sunday, 16 September 2012


This week I spent a highly enjoyable day on a foraging course, based at a farm near Steyning, to the north of Brighton. Organised and run by the lovely Carol and Louise at Pick It Cook It, my mum and I were welcomed by Roo and Sam the farm dogs. After some yummy homemade cake we were taken for a walk through ancient woodland, where Louise pointed out many wild herbs and berries which we would never have spotted.

Beautiful ancient woodland

A clearing between the trees.

A birch plantation

The main focus of the day was to collect hawthorn berries (haws) in order to make haw ketchup. Louise guided us to the best crops and we set to work picking.

Me at my most butch...

Roo took a shine to Mum (who wouldn't!)

Carol and Mum de-stalk the haws back at the farm.

And so do I...

Finally there are enough to wash and cook. Just add vinegar, water and sugar!

I've never seen so many haws in one place!

Once cooked, the haws are sieved.

And here's the end result

Just pour into sterilised jars and...

The ketchup is ideal for marinating meats or vegetables, or adding to soups and stews.

I would never have thought of an activity like this, luckily I chanced upon an advert in the brochure of the Horsham Food and Drink Festival. Mum and I really enjoyed the day, and a highlight was the delicious lunch, including Carol's scrumptious homemade soup and bread and a ploughmans. We also enjoyed our first taste of stir-fried dandelion root - surprisingly tasty it was too! Thank you Carol and Louise for a truly memorable day.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your interesting and fun day out. I am now heading over to your friends website which sounds wonderful.

  2. Glad you dropped by - I will now follow your interesting blog!

  3. The ketchup looks yummy and looks like you guys had a fab time! The birch plantation looks good too!

  4. That looks like a good day out especially as you shared it with your Mum. I am nervous about foraging and would like to know more but I am even more rubbish at preserving!!

    1. I know what you mean about being nervous, I think you just need to get to know a few basic plants that are safe and then build up your knowledge from there. I could definitely spot a hawthorn after my course! I am sure you can preserve if you persevere - do you get in a pickle?!!!

  5. Hello! It seems you had a really wonderful day.I like to do my homemade jam and preserves, it´s great fun. besos. Lilián.-

  6. I love this idea. This is how the American Indians ate, but foraging. Something we have lost here.

  7. I think it's great to go back to basics. As long as there's still TV and flushing toilets...

  8. Martin, what a fun activity! But how much work for such a little bit of ketch-up. I am glad that we don't depend on foraging anymore to get our tummies filled :-)!

  9. You're quite right it's easier to buy it in the store, but it was fun to do it the once and I did learn a lot.