Name: Fuchsia (that’s ch-s not s-ch)
Location: Mostly gardens or public garden spaces
Months: Flowers and berries in summer/Autumn
Edible Parts: Flowers and Berries
Non-Edible Parts: Leaves, Stalks
Fuchsia is a great flowering plant to have in your garden or allotment. For one thing the BEES love it! So if you are adding it to any area, bear this in mind and place it away from seating areas and preferably in the middle of crop plants to encourage the bees.
There are lots of different varieties of fuchsia – some have large flowers, and large berries and others are light pink or purple or fuchsia coloured! However, none of them are poisonous. Each different variety has it’s own flavour and sweetness so try them out and taste for yourself what kind of berry they produce before you buy to make sure you get a strain that suits you. Some are super sweet and some are a bit bitter and have an after taste.
I purchased this plant here for my new permaculture allotment because of the following key reasons:
- You can eat the berries fresh or make them into jams etc
- You can eat the flowers or use them as food decorations
- They attract bees to your plot
- They look pretty and add an extra edible dimension to a standard plot
Name: Hawthorn Berries
Location: Found on Hawthorn trees, identify the tree first and make sure you have the right one before venturing this one.
Months: August, September, October, November
Edible Parts: Berries
Non-Edible Parts: The pips/stones inside are poisonous, never consume these.
Hawthorn berries are very common across the UK and last well into the deep winter so they are quite important as a food stuff. These haws pictured are quite a large variety but they are normally a bit thinner than this.
They make a great savoury flavour to accompany meat particularly game so I make them into a Haw Sauce (like ketchup but with much more flavour). I have found a lot of large ones this year that are lovely and soft so I will be exploring some alternatives.
Name: Oregon Grape
Location: The berry of the Mahonia, typically American but often found across the UK in posh gardens particularly in new build areas.
Months: June, July, August
Edible Parts: Berries
Non-Edible Parts: Anything else
The Mahonia Bush as pictured above is filled with sharp holly like leaves. As such people tend to stay away from the berries mistaking them for poisonous holly berries. The bushes typically look around this size in the UK with the same twisty wood at the base and a fluffy head of not so fluffy leaves. The berries look powdery blue like Sloes but are grouped together in long string bunches similar to grapes. The berries themselves are often said to be a bit too tart for raw eating but having now tried them myself I would say they are only slightly tart and quite sweet and full flavoured. In fact I was licking my red fingers all the way home enjoying the taste. Mahonia berries can be used to make jams and wine as with most berries. You will not be dissapointed with flavour.
One last tip to leave you with as we learned this the hard way: BRING GLOVES when harvesting. The leaves HURT and the juice STAINS. Ouch!