Monday 22 August 2011

Can I Eat This?

The time of year has come again when I start to see middle aged and older people scavenging through bushes on the side of busy roads, inside roundabouts, on country lanes... pretty much everywhere (at least in this part of England). This used to really confuse me until I realised they were picking berries!  Duh.  (but it still looks a bit strange)

As I was walking my dog, I came across a few different varieties of berries and thought I would try a bit of berry picking myself. I ripped off a few small pieces of three different bushes and was feeling very Laura Ingalls wishing I had a basket, but then was struck sudden fear... Are berries like mushrooms? Could these be poisonous berries?! 

Here's what I found... anyone know if they are of the deadly variety?


  1. I barely feel good about the food I find in the sotres here! I definitly woyld not eat anything found on the side of the road, nevermind something that has been living on a constant diet of carbon dioxide on the inside of a roundabout! I would love to see the older folks getting across the roundabout though!

  2. I have no idea what the green ones are. The spikey leaves really turn me off of the idea of eating them. My guess is the others are red and black currants, but it would be easier to identify them if you had a leaf for each of them.

  3. Those are holly leaves and berries. The others *might* be black- and red currants, but without seeing the leaves as well I wouldn't be able to tell you definitely.

    I mainly stick to blackberries, sloes and rock samphire because I'm completely confident as to what they look like. I did go on a foraging walk last year with a woman who runs them and that helped me a lot. I can now also pick sea buckthorn and wild mustard! She taught us A TON of stuff, but was very realistic in saying that if we remembered two things, that would be good. So sea buckthorn and wild mustard it is.

    P.S. Holly berries are classed as "mildly toxic." In other words, don't eat them.

  4. Duh.. Holly that hasnt turned red yet! I should have known that. For the record, I won't be eating any berries (or anything else for that matter) I find on the side of the road! :)