A year in the life of a forager....

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The Big Lebowski

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 11, 2010
2,320
3
Sunny Wales!
Be updating this soon...

Tea tonight was Risotto of St George mushroom, bacon, three corner garlic and saffron. Served with french toast. I can start doing piccy's of some wild (mostly) meals if people want to see a bit of cooking?

I'm hungry again now :p
 

treadlightly

Full Member
Jan 29, 2007
2,685
1
61
Powys
Be updating this soon...

Tea tonight was Risotto of St George mushroom, bacon, three corner garlic and saffron. Served with french toast. I can start doing piccy's of some wild (mostly) meals if people want to see a bit of cooking?

I'm hungry again now :p

That would be great, thanks
 

The Big Lebowski

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 11, 2010
2,320
3
Sunny Wales!
Bit of simple food to start with then...
I would ideally like the thread to cover both foraged foods/berries/fruits and some basic uses to encourage people to give it a bash. As long as you are 110% sure of what you have, most of it is not as daunting as you might think following simple ID rules ect- Learn one plant well, move on to the next. There's many tasty wild foods well within reach of most people. Something as simple as a handful of fresh common sorrel over a salad or soup is very rewarding. Sea beet and prawn curry, a salt marsh salad. On it go's :)

Had this for a lunchtime snack a few weeks ago. Jews ear mushrooms are not everyone's cup of tea, ether visually or texture wise, or both... The marmite of the mushroom world, you could say! They are one of the easiest to ID though, and are near always found on elder. They also keep a firm, slightly chewy texture depending on what you use them for. Adding a handful into a stew that will be cooking for a good few hours, they come out really nice and tender. They also make a rather good pickled mushroom.

The thing most people don't realize is they are packed with nutrition, namely vitamin B's and a wide range of minerals. http://genuineaid.com/2010/11/26/nutrients-health-benefits-jews-ear-mushroom/

Pan fried with onions (I was out of wild onions at the time) balsamic reduction and carotino oil on a bed of ramsons, they made a very good sarnie indeedy.
Bacon would have made a nice addition, but I do like going veggie from time to time. There's some great wild flavors out there, why spoil them.



If the thread followers just want to stick with plants, no problems here :)
 
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The Big Lebowski

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 11, 2010
2,320
3
Sunny Wales!
Back on to the wild stuff. Few slightly more unusual today.

Common broom-Spartium scoparium. Not to be confused with gorse. Traditionally used to make... Brooms!
Flowers are edible, and make a great addition to wild salads, both visual and taste. Possibly even to flavor wines.


Broom flowers up close...


Lady's mantle- Alchemilla vulgaris.
The younger leaves are edible raw or cooked and as in yarrow, has a very interesting history as a healing herb.


Japanese knotweed- Fallopia japonica.
Scurge of the landowner, a joy to the beekeeper. The young shoots taste like a cross between rhubarb and beetroot. I quite like it.
You can snap the larger stems in the summer and get a small amount of liquid to drink that tastes like citrus water (lemon/lime) each section
you break into... I might have a bash at a knotweed crumble :) Just be very careful when transporting it in a sealed airtight bag. A dry-bags ideal.


Some knotweed shoots I've had pickling in white vinegar with a splash of balsamic.
Should be a talking point (be it good, or bad!) around the campfire one evening with a wild food schmorgasboard :)


Sweet vernal grass-Anthoxanthum odoratum. (cheers mike)
Last one's not really a foodstuff, as more of a flavor. My foraging friend calls this custard grass.
If you pull the grass at the base so you get the white stem, scrape it through your teeth and a few seconds later you get this really nice hit of custard/vanilla.
Its really unusual and something to impress people when you are taking a stroll. Natures a funny old thing.
 
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Harvestman

Bushcrafter through and through
May 11, 2007
8,656
0
51
Pontypool, Wales, Uk
Great pics as usual Al.

Don't bother listing synonyms for latin names. They just confuse the issue.

Your custard grass looks like sweet vernal grass to me. Distinctive feature is the single small leaf blade on the stem. When dried, it is what gives hay its distinctive smell and flavour, and if you want to look like a country hick, it is the grass to stick between your teeth, as it has a sweet taste.

If you want to do something baked in hay, this is the grass to use.
 
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The Big Lebowski

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 11, 2010
2,320
3
Sunny Wales!
Cheers :)

I think you may be right with the grass... Just looked at a full size piccy, and indeed, it has a single small blade of grass on the stem!
Synonyms removed on request.
 

The Big Lebowski

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 11, 2010
2,320
3
Sunny Wales!
Picked what will probably be the last basket of St Georges (Calocybe gambosa) for 2012... Sniff!
Had some great meals with these, one of the very best being a simple three egg omelet with a handful of mushrooms and a pinch of saffron.


Took a walk along the coast later...

Frosted Orache- Atriplex laciniata. Use like seabeet, smaller leaves in salad or pan fry quickly.


Sea arrowgrass-Triglochin maritima. (dark green grass in center) Wonderful stuff! tastes like coriander :)


Silverweed-Argentina anserina. Not highly rated taste wise personally, but again, edible.


Next up on the mushroom hunting list. Chicken of the woods-Laetiporus sulphureus.
Looking forwards to trying this! Its deffo unusual by all accounts :)


Same cotw, 24 hrs later... Impressive growth!


Away for a long weekend, so I'll add more early next week. Cheers, al.
 
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The Big Lebowski

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 11, 2010
2,320
3
Sunny Wales!
Been rather busy of late... But a bit more wild food cooking.
A curry dish of chicken, sea spinach and st george mushroom I made last week for some friends. I used a fair bit of hogweed in the curry, and it works superb.
The side dish was a chutney of tomato, wild onion, three corner garlic, sea arrow grass (tastes like coriander) chilli and common sorrel. Rice was just turmeric and saffron.

You really can start having some fun with wild food. I'm loving every meal :) I'll update this after the bank holidays.
 
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Harvestman

Bushcrafter through and through
May 11, 2007
8,656
0
51
Pontypool, Wales, Uk
Here's a few pics that I have been asked to contribute to this thread...

Bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus, in flower. This has lots of regional names. Where I live it is called wimberry.
IMGP0971.jpgIMGP0972.jpg

Gooseberry (almost certainly a garden escape)
IMGP0974.jpgIMGP0975.jpg

And a little challenge. How many wild edibles can you see in this picture? I haven't arrived at a definitive answer myself, so it will be interesting to see what people notice. The pic is of vegetation at the side of a canal.
IMGP0976.jpg
 

xylaria

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mr biG lebowski, is that really what your dinner plate looks like most nights?

If yes do you plate up for gordan ramsey?

I see silverweed [roots a fiddly edible] plantain [seeds good, leaves only palatable after snow IMO] cant make much else at the mo.
 
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The Big Lebowski

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 11, 2010
2,320
3
Sunny Wales!
LoL... Thanks for the complement F!

I do enjoy cooking, spending several years in/or running kitchens and you eat with your eye's as they say :) All good fun.

atb, al.
 

Harvestman

Bushcrafter through and through
May 11, 2007
8,656
0
51
Pontypool, Wales, Uk
Mr biG lebowski, is that really what your dinner plate looks like most nights?

If yes do you plate up for gordan ramsey?

I see silverweed [roots a fiddly edible] plantain [seeds good, leaves only palatable after snow IMO] cant make much else at the mo.
With a bit of image enlargement I'm seeing yellow archangel, cow parsley and herb bennett in there as well, and possibly hogweed, though I'm not sure about the latter.
 

Androo

Nomad
Dec 8, 2010
300
0
NW UK
Here's a few pics that I have been asked to contribute to this thread...

Bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus, in flower. This has lots of regional names. Where I live it is called wimberry.
View attachment 10578View attachment 10579

Gooseberry (almost certainly a garden escape)
View attachment 10580View attachment 10581

And a little challenge. How many wild edibles can you see in this picture? I haven't arrived at a definitive answer myself, so it will be interesting to see what people notice. The pic is of vegetation at the side of a canal.
View attachment 10582
Brilliant thread, thank you all who've contibuted so far, learning lots here!

I've not been taking many pictures but out in the woods last weekend, I found a number of HUGE patches of Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) that I never knew were there, the fruit was only just setting, but there might be a crop to go with the Wild Strawberries when they arrive!

In the pic I can see

Silverweed (Argentina anserina)
Buttercup flowers (Ranunculus repens)
Greater plantain (Plantago major)
A very small Blackberry plant (Rubus fruticosus) - is it? - bottom left corner
And is that leaf stage umbellifera to the top right Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) ?

Difficult to tell from the itsy picture ;O)
 

Harvestman

Bushcrafter through and through
May 11, 2007
8,656
0
51
Pontypool, Wales, Uk
Brilliant thread, thank you all who've contibuted so far, learning lots here!

I've not been taking many pictures but out in the woods last weekend, I found a number of HUGE patches of Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) that I never knew were there, the fruit was only just setting, but there might be a crop to go with the Wild Strawberries when they arrive!

In the pic I can see

Silverweed (Argentina anserina)
Buttercup flowers (Ranunculus repens)
Greater plantain (Plantago major)
A very small Blackberry plant (Rubus fruticosus) - is it? - bottom left corner
And is that leaf stage umbellifera to the top right Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) ?

Difficult to tell from the itsy picture ;O)
The butercup isn't edible, I can't see your blackberry unless you are seeing my Herb Bennett, and I would say the umbellifer foliage is cow parsley. The yellow archangel is top centre, 2 plants, with flowers a paler yellow than the buttercups.

Androo, drop me a PM with your address and I'll post you out the last of that spalted larch that you liked. I've got 2 bits left over after my craft stall.
 

Androo

Nomad
Dec 8, 2010
300
0
NW UK
That's wierd, I always thought buttercup flowers were edible, but have never tried one or said to anyone else they were... learning important things here! thank you.

Naa, the possible Blackberry I can see isn't the Bennett (which I see now), I can see about 5 leaves...but on a save-and-zoom, I'm now thinking it could be Wild Strawberry or even an Astrantia!



Ahh, I see the archangel.

I really wanna get out with some books and get foraging!

And that (spalted Larch) is very nice of you :)