A quick guide to identifying some hedgerow fruitPosted by Fiona Nevile in Hedgerow food | 45 comments
I’ve had quite a few emails recently about identifying hedgerow fruit so I thought that it might be helpful to post some of the pictures that I have. Sloes, wild damsons, wild cherry plums and bullaces all came from the same family – albeit distant relations. They all have stones and the bushes have similar leaves.
The main problem seems to be differentiating sloes and wild damsons as they are both small and dark. Sloe bushes have sharp thorns and wild damson trees do not. Damsons have longer stems so hang and look more like a tiny plum. Sloes have shorter stems and hug the branches more.
Steve pointed out (see comments) that sloes can be confused with Deadly Nightshade – you can see some photos Deadly Nightshade photos here.
Wild plums taste like domestic plums (from sharp Mirabelles to sweet Victorias). Wild bullaces taste like greengages. Wild damsons are very sharp and sloes taste almost bitter.
Of course the best pocket guide to hedgerow foraging is Richard Maybe’s Food for Free (Collins GEM). It’s now on offer on Amazon for under £3.00.
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