Family spends just £5 a month on groceries thanks to foraging most of their food
A family has explained how they are coping with the cost of living crisis by foraging for all their meals, spending just £5 a month on groceries.
Jim Parums, 32, from Altrincham, Manchester, first discovered foraging as a child after watching his grandmother, Anne, 84, pick mushrooms.
Now Parums, has taught his wife, Kat Parums, 35, and is teaching his daughters, aged three and one, the art of survival using foraging techniques.
Every meal in the family's home is cooked with ingredients grown in their garden and foraged from local woods.
Their meals even include birds left behind from pheasant shoots during that season.
In January 2020, Jim trialled giving up doing weekly food shops after becoming sick of processed, frozen and expensive meals.
Read more: Mum and daughter foraging team make meals for free from food found in local forest
The family loved their new way of life so much they stuck with it and continued to source fresh produce from the environment around them.
The family now save around £100 a week by living from their land and only need to go to the supermarket for a few basics, spending on average just £5 a month.
Jim, who now works as a professional forager, says: "Some of the tastiest ingredients are waiting outside your doorstep.
"With a little bit of guidance, foraging can be used in every meal, and that expensive weekly shop can be reduced drastically.
"My family and I rarely visit our local Tesco because we have everything we need in our garden or outside.
"We only really buy pasta and olive oil, which barely breaks our £5 spending limit in the local shop."
After watching his grandma as a youngster, Jim went on to discover a talent for foraging after being able to easily identifying mushrooms with just a glance.
The dad-of-two continued his passion while studying for his degree in Electronic Engineering in 2011, foraging for berries and making wine for his friends.
"We were young and just wanted something to drink, so I thought, 'Why not create it myself?'" he explains.
"It was awful, but it definitely did the job.
"My wine-making has improved quite dramatically in recent years," he laughs.
Read more: A beginner's guide to foraging
In 2015, April, Jim met his wife Kat when they both worked in hospitality, and they moved to Manchester together in 2019.
But before long he became unfulfilled with "the daily grind" and decided to try and carve out a career doing something he loved instead.
"At first Kat was confused by my obsession with fungi," he explains. "But after cooking her a three-course meal that was fully foraged she was blown away!
"Now Kat is also an incredible forager," he continues.
"Even our eldest daughter could distinguish mushrooms by their spots at the age of just three."
The family spend the morning harvesting various fungi, berries and plants to use for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For breakfast, they will have homemade jam from foraged berries with freshly baked bread.
Watch: Forage for wild delights this winter
Jim's typical lunch for the family will include a variety of fruits and vegetables harvested from their garden and their dinners will alter depending on the season.
"We grow a number of fruits and vegetables in our garden," Jim continues.
"While people spend around £10 on their fruit and veg every week, we are growing and foraging for practically nothing.
"Weekly food shops can be such a burden on people's finances, but we're able to save hundreds each year by throwing away the idea of a weekly food shop."
Jim anticipates the average weekly food shop for a family of four could be around £90, but says his family don't spend anywhere near that amount in an entire month.
He now helps other families to reduce their cost of living through foraging though his business Forage Box.
"Our friends and family love the foraging lifestyle with some of them learning a few helpful tips and tricks," he explains.
"No food is wasted, we use what we need and recycle and compost our leftovers."
Read more: Mum saves £5k a year by buying everything second hand – including Christmas presents
Typical foraged meals Jim and his family eat:
Laver seaweed risotto
Chicken of the woods mushroom nuggets
Dandelion bhajis with watermint raita
Woodland pesto pasta
Poached eggs on toast with shaggy inkcap ketchup
Wild ramen with foraged mushrooms and horseradish
Nettle and dock leaf saag aloo
Sourdough pizza with wild ingredients
Roast pheasant with fermented blackberry jam
Crumpets with dulse seaweed marmalade
Wild mushroom and muntjac sausage roll
Stir fried marsh samphire with seaweed glaze
Additional reporting SWNS.