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Mum-of-two saves money on her food bill by foraging for ingredients

Metro logo Metro 05/07/2022 Gergana Krasteva
Vittoria Veltri, 38, has been living in London for 10 years and recently started foraging again (Picture: BPM Media) © Provided by Metro Vittoria Veltri, 38, has been living in London for 10 years and recently started foraging again (Picture: BPM Media)

An Italian chef has revealed how she saves money on her food shop by foraging for ingredients amid the worsening cost of living crisis in the UK.

Vittoria Veltri, who lives in Putney, south-west London, cooks with edible flowers, wild garlic and nettles she finds near her home.

Growing up in the south of Italy, the mum-of-two regularly foraged but was too nervous to try it in the busy capital, especially as she did not know what would be fine to pick.

Her grandmother was an ‘amazing’ cook, and her dad is really into growing food and foraging, so Vittoria always ate fresh produce in her childhood.

Inspired to continue the family tradition – and save some money on groceries – she took a course to learn about natural ingredients available in the area.

‘It definitely saves money because you don’t have to buy anything. You just need to have patience and go for a walk,’ she told MyLondon

Vittoria during a foraging trip in Richmond park in west London (Picture: BPM Media) © Provided by Metro Vittoria during a foraging trip in Richmond park in west London (Picture: BPM Media) She picks Hawthorn leaves often used for jelly or ketchup (Picture: BPM Media) © Provided by Metro She picks Hawthorn leaves often used for jelly or ketchup (Picture: BPM Media)

Vittoria now enjoys going foraging with her five-year-old son before the pair get home and prepare dishes like nettle pasta and salads with fresh wild garlic pesto.

‘When we walk to get him from school, it is full of things to forage,’ she said.

‘Once were home we cook it, my son loves cooking with me, so we cook it together.’

While foraging for ingredients, Vittoria makes sure she takes her book with her to ensure they are safe.

She said: ‘Of course [there’s dangerous plants that you have to watch for].

She always takes her foraging book with her (Picture: BPM Media) © Provided by Metro She always takes her foraging book with her (Picture: BPM Media)

‘I always have the book on me because some plants are quite similar to other plants so you need to look for that as well. I’m still learning so I’m quite cautious.’

Foraging has regained far greater popularity in recent years amid the rise in food costs, petrol and bills.

It is among the more creative ways – like car shares and clothes swaps – people cut their spending.

Fortunately for Vittoria, her story has inspired many to try out foraging themselves – either for the fun of it or to also tackle the cost of living.

She now teaches cooking classes in London under the name of Pasta and Play.

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