I want to learn to forage for food in the UK... what tips can you offer for beginners? What are the best foraging books to try? Jonny Crockett offers expert advice!

Q: How do you learn to forage for plants? Do you have any tips for beginners?

JONNY CROCKETT replies: Foraging is not a dark art. It is a matter of learning plants one at a time. Most people know more than they realise already and can probably identify moss, ivy, brambles, nettles, clover, bracken, dandelion and a few more besides.

If you find a plant that you can’t identify, take as many photos of it as possible and then refer and compare with at least two books. I would suggest two great foraging books: one with photographs and one with drawings. Some books are colour-coded by the flowers, others by habitat, others seemingly in no order whatsoever. Good peer-reviewed plant ID books, cross-referenced with books such as Richard Maybe’s Food for Free or Roger Phillips’ Wild Food, will give you an idea as to what you can do with them. Alternatively, you can go on a course. I’d suggest a course that offers a qualification as the people that run that course will have had to prove themselves in that field.

Learn one plant at a time, learn it really well and then move onto the next one. Don’t try learning several simultaneously as you may get confused. Also, try to learn plants that have different colours or appearances, one after the other. If you try to learn all yellow-flowered plants, your mind will just see a custard of flowers and they’ll blend into one.

There is, of course, one step that you do have to do – get out there and forage!

Sporting Shooter tip: There are loads of good foraging books out there. Try this one!