Foraging in September

Foraging in September is brilliant, September marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, it’s the month for berries, nuts and seeds. The wetter weather also marks the beginning of ‘mushroom season’ and you’ll see fungi springing up almost everywhere you look.

So what can you forage in September? Here are our top five picks for the month.

What to look for when Foraging in September

You can click on the species below to be taken to our full identification guides;

Hawthorn berries

An underused berry in my opinion, they are flavoursome and packed full of goodness. Lots of guidebooks recommend waiting until after the first frost but I tend to pick them as soon as they are ripe and freeze them for a couple of days to increase their sweetness. Once defrosted they’re really versatile and can be used in sweet and savory recipes.

hawthorn, ripe berries on the bush-forager James


One of the most nutritious berries that you can find, they are high in antioxidants and vitamins that boost your immune system, reduce inflammation and protect your heart, they also taste pretty good too! Use them in pies, crumble, jellies and liquors. While you’re picking them keep your eyes open for the Jelly Ear mushroom, they’re normally at their most striking now.

hawthorn, ripe berries on the bush-forager James


A lot of people are under the illusion that acorns are toxic when in fact they are an incredible, edible resource. They can be used to make flour and coffee alternatives or used as you would any other nut. They are high in tannic acid which needs to be ‘leached’ out first which is simple but can be a bit time consuming.

Oak, acorns ripe in a basket-forager

Sweet chestnut

LIke acorns are an incredible edible nut, not to be confused with Horse Chestnut or conkers that are toxic but surprisingly can be used to make soap. Sweet chestnuts are traditionally roasted on an open fire at Christmas time but they can also be used to make flour, coffee, porridge and beer.

Sweet chestnut, ripe nuts found on the ground in Autumn-f

Hedgehog fungus

These little mushrooms could be my all time favourites, I love their flavour and texture and they keep a lot longer than many other species. They are quite common in woodlands from September until November and are very beginner friendly. The name comes from the ‘spines’ that cover the underside of the mushroom and are a key ID feature to look for.

Hedgehog fungus, close up on the spines-

Recipe of the month – Elderberry Pontack sauce

Elderberry Pontack sauce might be one of those things you’ve never heard of, but once you’ve tasted it you’ll never forget it. It’s difficult to describe but it’s a bit like if Worcestershire sauce, port & ketchup had a little party under a fruiting elder tree and created their own off-breed super sauce.

It goes specifically well with earthy flavours, think salt-baked beetroots or venison burgers, I often use it as a straight substitute as a more adult version of ketchup.


  • 400g elderberries, try to remove as much berry from the stalks as possible – I use a fork to help with that.
  • 200ml white apple cider vinegar
  • 200ml balsamic vinegar
  • 100ml worcestershire sauce (or similar like hendersons)
  • 2 red onions, peeled & diced
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 1 thumb ginger
  • 1 tsp hogweed seeds or another spice of your liking for example cumin or coriander


  1. Put all of the ingredients apart from the sugar in a slow cooker & allow it to stew over 4 hours (add a little extra liquid if it looks like it may dry out but it shouldn’t)
  2. After a couple of hours use a potato masher to mash everything up and get as much of the juice out as possible.
  3. Strain through a sieve or muslin cloth to remove and thick or woody bits and the fruit
  4. Pop in a pan and bring to a simmer & add the sugar stirring until it’s nicely dissolved.
  5. Bottle & enjoy
  6. You can keep it on the pan for a bit if you’re after a thicker, more sticky sauce – that’s up to you.
  7. It can be eaten straight away but it’s best left to mature for a week or two if you can resist it.