The start of September means that the last days of summer are just around the corner and although I’ll miss the long evenings, the start of autumn also brings new, exciting opportunities for outdoor adventures. If you know where to look, autumn can be just as much a season of plenty as summer. In that spirit, I am looking forward to creating a notebook for autumn foraging!
What is foraging?
Foraging is the act of searching for food in nature. For our ancestors, it was a part of daily life, but now many people do it as a hobby. If you’re looking for ways to keep enjoying nature as summer ends, foraging is a great option for autumn activities. It allows you to get outdoors and connect with nature, while slowing down and practicing mindfulness. I find that the unique attention and focus necessary when foraging is actually relaxing. And the fact that the fruits of your labour can be turned into a delicious meal makes it all the more rewarding!
Some essential foraging tips
It is wise to follow some foraging guidelines to protect both yourself and the environment when enjoying this autumn activity.
There are as many dangerous plants as there are delicious ones, so it’s vitally important to pay attention to what you are picking. Investing in a field guide or taking a foraging course can help you identify species. However, the old adage of ‘if in doubt, leave it out’ applies particularly well when you are new to foraging. Washing any foraged foods before cooking or eating them is a good idea as well.
You should also pay attention to where you are foraging. It is completely legal to forage in public spaces and along footpaths, but private property should be avoided. The National Trust supports sustainable foraging at the majority of its locations. This means only taking what you need for personal use from abundant species. It is important to protect the natural environment and leave enough food for local wildlife. Some National Trust areas may also be protected as special habitats, so it is a good idea to check with staff before starting a foraging expedition.
Using a notebook to plan foraging adventures
Just like a new school year, some things are better when they aren’t started in January. With an abundance of tasty treats to find, September is the perfect time for creating a notebook or journal for foraging.
Billy’s custom notebooks are the perfect place for planning autumn activities and organising foraging information to make your expedition easier. It’s useful to check the weather forecast for your planned date, as rain can put a damper on a day out and cause fruits to mildew more quickly. A list of what to take with you, for example scissors, a cloth bag or basket for your finds, gloves, and a guidebook, is also a useful addition to a foraging notebook.
Making notes can also help you choose your foraging location. You might spot some brightly coloured fruit along a local footpath, but a day out to explore further afield can be just as rewarding and fun. Make a list of new places you could visit, perhaps a woodland, and add your travel plans to your notebook. I also like to check for local cafes or pubs as a fun way to keep up my energy and break up the day.
Bullet journaling, also known as bujo, is a good way of connecting all the different parts of your plans. As well as adding notes on the different wild foods you hope to find and recipes you want to try. Blackberries are always abundant in autumn, and a blackberry and apple crumble is a delicious classic dish. I’m excited to try making something to enjoy throughout the winter, for example a rosehip or elderberry syrup.
Fruits and berries, such as damsons, sloes, pears, or even wild raspberries can easily be found at this time of year. And if you beat the squirrels to them, hawthorns and beech nuts can also be a fun find! Use books and websites, such as the Woodland Trust or Country File, for ideas on what, where and how to forage as well as recipes to try.
Customising a notebook for foraging
Customised foraging notebooks make great autumn gifts for fans of the outdoors. I like to use hardback, wiro bound notebooks when foraging, as I find them easier to write and draw in when outside. Billy also offers lined pages that are perfect for checklists or plain pages if you prefer adding foraging sketches. Label a custom notebook for foraging with the year and season. Fill it with notes on your autumn activities and adventures to make a beautiful memento. It will act as your own personal autumn foraging guide book for years to come!
To find your perfect foraging notebook you can browse our full collection here.