Week 40 - My 7 Favourite Foraged Foods
7 Foraged Foods
1. Wild Garlic
The leaves of wild garlic are often the first thing I get to pick at the beginning of the year and in a mild winter this can be as soon as early February. I love them aded to all sorts of dishes with my favourite probably being a leek risotto.
2. Beech Leaves
I have added this one, not because it is something I forage for a lot but because the young leaves make the most delicious alcoholic drink called Beech Leaf Noyau which I thought others might like to try!
Possible the bane of many a gardener but not me. I tolerate them in the veg patch as the pigs like them but is the flowers I wait for and turn into dandelion jam or jelly .... or syrup when sometimes it refuses to set. Most people cannot believe the delicious preserve I offer them is made from dandelions.
... and berries in the autumn. Elderflower champagne is so easy to make and a wonderfully refreshing summer drink.. Just a word of caution though - be careful what bottles you store it in. The berries can be added to fruit jellies and chutneys or made into the unusually sounding Pontack Sauce .... that is best kept SEVEN years to mature.
These must be the most commonly foraged berry with brambles popping up all over the place. I love them in crumbles and this apple and blackberry cake. What is your favourite way to eat them?
Say sloe to any forager and I bet their eyes will light up as they say Sloe Gin back to you! But you can also add them to jellies and they really help them to set as they contain a high level of pectin.
In WWII children were paid to collect rosehips which were made into a syrup. With oranges and other citrus fruits unavailable the syrup became an invaluable source of Vitamin C for the nation's young people. I make rosehip syrup to both help fight colds due to its vitamin contant and also because I love it drizzled over my morning porridge!
If you are heading out to forage please do follow these simpler rules:
1. Be sure you know what you are foraging for - if in doubt leave it there.
2. Only pick enough for your own use and leave plenty for nature and other foragers
3. Ask the landowners permission
4. Avoid heavily polluted areas and where foraging at or near ground level avoid areas with lots of dogs!
Have you seen all the other posts in my #WeeklyGreenTips series? Click on "Weekly Green Tips" in the labels section in the right hand column for loads more green inspiration.