Playing ketchup

By guest blogger FINN TOPSON

Last Wednesday’s foraging session was relocated from Chorlton Ees to nearby Fletcher Moss park in Didsbury, but due to a distinct lack of rain this September, there was some uncertainty as to whether this dry and warm early evening walk would provide the group with what we had come to seek: wild food! Luckily, it soon became obvious that we had no need to worry as our first encounter with wild mushrooms took place only metres from the park’s main gate, where we found some beautiful and large, yet sadly inedible, specimens.
Over the course of the evening, we foraged through several areas of the park and learnt a good deal from our forage leader Jesper about the various identification methods which can be employed when seeking wild mushrooms. He also told us all about potential medicinal uses for fungi and, as well as filling our baskets with various types of mushrooms, we got the chance to pick some three-cornered leeks as well as some hawthorn berries.

We regrouped back at the park entrance and Jesper swiftly began cooking up a storm, sautéing the wild mushrooms along with the three-cornered leeks and plenty of butter in one pan, and boiling the hawthorn berries with vinegar, sugar and water to prepare a delicious ketchup in another. The food was served in a fittingly rustic style with the mushrooms and ketchup piled onto slices of bread, and the quiet while everyone ate and the empty pans at the end is a sure sign that everyone greatly enjoyed their food!  

Jesper Launder leads regular wild food forages with Cracking Good Food, in Chorlton and Didsbury. The next are on Saturday 8 November and Sunday 30 November – full details of all the foraging trips are available on the CGF website here.

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