7 Hand-Picked Ideal Christmas Gifts for a Forager
Are you looking for foraging gifts? Perhaps someone you know has recently taken up an interest in wild food, or you want to get some cool kit for a forager friend? If so, then you have landed on the right page! I've selected 10 perfect and affordable gifts that any forager would be delighted to open on Christmas morning. From knives to jam bags, there's something for every wild food hunter here! These are things I either own, have used or would rather fancy myself so you can be sure they are worth every penny.
1. Berry picker
If there's one thing foragers love, it's making foraging easier for themselves! We love picking blueberries in the warm months, but there's only so much love to give when you are crouched over, back aching and your basket only half full after two hours work! That's why this berry picker is a lifesaver.
You grab it by the handle and thrust it through the blueberry bush where in one fell swoop you can collect whole handfuls of berries. You'll be done in no time! it really takes the hassle out of picking individual berries, and is a great addition to the forager's toolkit.
I've had my berry picker for many a year and it has saved me from many a back pain. It's great for blueberries, bilberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and any other little berries on bushes. You can also use it in the garden! Take a look - it's like a robot claw!
(Please note that, surprisingly, berry pickers are not suitable for combing your hair.)
You can buy berry pickers here. You could even buy two - one for each hand - and give someone the gift of becoming a Foraging Terminator who strides through bracken without fear!
2. Jam making kit
Long-gone are the days when it was just your nan who would make jars of jam. It's now a popular activity for everyone and is a great way for a forager to preserve the berries and fruit of the summer for glutinous ruin over winter. Jams also make a great present at Christmas, so if you get someone a jam making kit this year, you might be rewarded with jars of jam for years to come!
Jam making isn't complicated, and is a great activity to do with kids. However it does require a few things, including jars, lids, and most importantly a bag through which seeds and such like are seived out. So jam making kits are great because they come with almost everything a forager needs to get started. This jam making kit from VonShef is superb because you basically only have to add the fruit and sugar! It even comes with a must-have jam pot to do all the mixing in. Just make sure you also buy a straining bag too because for some reason it doesn't have one, but they are not expensive.
3. Foraging knife
A knife is an important piece of kit for the forager. It can be used to forage for mushrooms, slice wild apples in the field and a myriad of other uses. WIth one of these opinel knives, you can even use it to brush light dust and debris off of finds.
I love my Opinel knife, and it comes with me on all my foraging trips. You never know when you might need it! It's a great gift for those starting out foraging, as well as more experienced foragers. These things can get lost easily, so it's good to have a stash!
4. Foraging books
You can't go wrong with a good book. And you can go even less wrong with a god foraging book!
I've reviewed some of the most popular foraging books around, with more added to this site regularly.
However if you just want to get a foraging book bought and get on with life, then let me stick my neck out and recommend John Wright's Hedgerow. It covers all the plants a new forager is likely to find, and also makes for a great read too with plenty of stories and laughs. As you can see from the photo of my copy, it's a well-used book! You can buy Hedgerow here.
Whilst you're at it, why not buy He's A Fungi's very own Foraging Journal? This is a great notebook to have in your pocket when out and about.
Write down and sketch what you see, wherever you see it! And for only £3.50 it makes for a perfect stocking filler. I mean just look at that happy wee face, and that's only with my own copy. Imagine what that face will do if you were to buy one! Goodness me. Buy the best thing you will ever buy in your life right here.
A map is a forager's friend and make great gift ideas. Trust me on this. There are loads of ways you can note down where you find things. "Behind the bogs just to the left of the tree with the berries" is not one of them. Not a good one, anyway! That's the way to forget where you found your mother load of ceps.
So instead, do the right thing and get a map It could be a hardcopy, or a digital version. That way, you'll know exactly where to return to next year. This is great for those who travel a lot and forget where things are.
It makes a great gift as you can buy vouchers for someone and they can prepare their maps for the year ahead, wherever they happen to be going. Anyone who loves spending time outdoors will love this gift!
You can buy gift vouchers this Christmas from Ordnance Survey to give to someone so they can buy their own set of maps. They can even use them to buy digital maps on their phone whilst out and about in the wild! Buy Ordnance Survey gift vouchers here.
6. River Cottage DVDs
River Cottage is now more of a culinary brand, set up and run by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. But back in the olden days, it was more a movement about self-sufficiency, bartering and eating off the land. It was absolutely the show that got me into foraging, there's no doubt about that.
It was with regret that I realised that the first series of River Cottage was aired in 1999. Over twenty years ago. This filled me with existential dread, and so I am going to pretend that I"m not as old as I obviously am.
Moving on, I still heartily recommend the original River Cottage DVDs. Age notwithstanding, foraging practices haven't changed in generations, so what Hugh does here is still relevant today. See him go from discovering wild garlic to running his own smallholding. It's a wonderful show and I really urge foragers to give it a watch. It's heartwarming, entertaining and funny. You can buy the original River Cottage Collection DVDs here.
I've got one of my DVD copies signed by the man himself. And no, you can't have it.
I'd also recommend his A Cook on the Wild Side DVD too. This contains two series' of Hugh travelling around the UK on a Land Rover (with self-contained kitchen) and a canal barge, foraging, meeting people of the land and just having a good time. This is an excellent DVD and would be a great present.
7. Foraging baskets
There's only so many berries you can put in your pockets! The day will come - and it will come soon for a forager - that a basket is needed to carry all the lovely things found whilst out on a walk. So buying a basket as a gift is a great idea, and you can never have too many!
I have many different types of basket but any kind is good so long as you can carry things in it. I mean, that's the most basic need from a basket!
A wicker basket like this fits snugly into the crook of your elbow, keeping your hands free to pick.
It's also environmentally friendly and won't fill up with rain on bad days!
Larger trugs like these are also useful, especially for putting in larger items like branches, or if you are on a quest to grab some delicious sea buckthorne. A hessian lining in the trug also helps you avoid dragging dirt into the home. It's made from antique wash willow and looks just the part.
It can also be a nice idea to get a forager a good backpack. I have a what-I-call foraging knapsack (oh yes I do) and I love it.
It carries all the stuff I might need for the day including drinks, sandwiches and bags for my finds! Mine is from Troop London and it looks like they don't sell them any more, but it is similar to this one.
So there you have it, 7 Christmas gift ideas for the forager in your life! Happy shopping!