When I walk into the small market town where I live I am constantly struck by the amount of free food I pass that's available to me. Fruit, nuts and salads are plentiful. All I need is a keen eye, an open mind and a willingness to try and put some free food on the table each week.
In late summer there are apples, blackberries and elderberries ripening. That means jam, chutney and wine to me using a variety of methods and flavours. I also pass a wild fig tree which has never had fruit on it but it does have leaves which take on an amazing coconut flavour when baked. Try lining a cake tin with them or adding to biscuits.
As we progress to autumn there are walnuts and hazelnuts to gather if you can beat the squirrels to them. There is also one garden with a prolific almond tree which drops it's nuts all over the pavement. I wonder how many people pick up a few when they pass by. Plus there are sloes for warming winter gin.
Earlier in the year there are fresh leaves for salads such as hawthorn, beech, dandelion and chickweed. Early summer provides cherries and cherry plums. Later there is horseradish.
In my town we are lucky to have both a community allotment and orchard. For those of us who can walk or cycle a few miles there are wild damsons and pears, plus herbs such as mint, fennel and sorrel.
I recommend we all take advantage of the bounty available to us and enjoy a free meal or two.
Lorraine Casserly, Lincolnshire
Herbal and garden remedies in: No Dig Organic Home and Garden