I like to think of myself of something as an urban forager. London, and other urban areas, has so much more food literally all around us than people seem to realise. Last summer, in London I found several types of plums, apricots, apples, pears, blackberries, red currents, cherries, and apricots.
I’ve never really been prepared for finding these things – I made my housemate Rob collect apricots with me in a shoe box. Or, more accurately, I collected them whilst Rob stood a few feet away trying to look not with me and moving further and further into the distance as I called to try to get him to reach things that were too high for me.
Pretty similar stories for all of the other fruits I collected last year; coming across them by accident and leaving the people I was with deeply unimpressed. But this year I was ready.
I’d paid careful attention to which trees had cherry blossom near my house. I banked that knowledge and set out with some tupperware (shoe boxes are so last year) to go cherry pickin’.
It was a disaster.
I don’t know what type of cherries they are – but they are not the type you can eat. They were bitter and gross and I’d say 100% not for eating. The first one I picked I tasted straight away. It tasted odd, but I had just brushed my teeth so I wasn’t sure. So I tried again – for science. It exploded thick, dark purple juice over my hand and made me look like I’d been seriously injured. It was time to give up. No hand picked cherries for me this year. At least not from this tree.
Not to be defeated, I went to the supermarket, bought some cherries, and infused some gin. Because you can’t stop me, poison cherries.