Foraged foods

John Fenna

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Oct 7, 2006
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This year I have decided is to be a year where I eat more foraged foods...
So far I have had
Wall Pennywort - raw as a salad nibble. Very nice "Sugar Snap pea" like flavour
Wild Garlic - leaf and bulb, both raw as a salad nibble and chopped into my home made cheeses - mild garlic flavour.
Ground Elder - raw as salad nibble, not great... a bit tough and bitter
Hawthorn leaf - raw as salad nibble - nutty flavour
Jack by the Hedge - raw as salad nibble,. Mustardy garlicy flavour.
Violet - flower raw as salad nibble. Not much flavour.
Alexanders - Leaf raw as salad nibble, stalks boiled in salt water and served with black pepper. Stalks very nice asparagus/celery flavour, leaf a bit tough and bitter but with a nice tang.
Cleavers - leaf cooked in salty water. Not great and somewhat bitter
Primrose flower - raw as salad nibble. Not much flavour.
Nettles - cooked in salty water. Spinach flavour
Dandelion - leaf and flower as salad nibbles leaf a little bitter but flower very nice flavour... a bit floral!

Not a lot of food value in all that - but a tasty salad and some good veggies to go with your meat and carbs!
I am looking forward to further harvests :)
 
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Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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First hawthorn leaves are open ....."hawthorn leaves, bread and cheese"
Lesser celandines are out here too, so is the bittercress and the first rosettes of the cuckoo flowers.
Fresh cleavers are better I find just eaten raw when very new, put them into a sandwich of brown bread and cheese and they're good :)
Ground elder's good in a stew, I don't find wall pennywort here, it's supposed to be very good.
Ransoms, primroses and the first heartsease flowers are out though.
Picked fresh dockens, and just rinsed them and sweated them down quickly in a hot saute pan. Very good with a little salt and pepper.
Lots of very fat looking sycamore seeds, obviously ripening to burst into leaf. They taste a bit like peas just now.
 
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Zingmo

Eardstapa
Jan 4, 2010
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This year I have a plan to try Japanese Knotweed. Apparently a bit like rhubarb.
The trick is to find a patch you are sure hasn't been sprayed.

Edit: I should add that you really shouldn't take it off site and anything you cut but don't eat needs to be burnt on your fire.

Z
 
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John Fenna

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I tried the Cleavers as a salad - much better than cooked!
Also
Lesser Celendine - leaf raw pleasant as a salad nibble and root boiled - nutty crunch, quite pleasant. Do not use too much as can be slightly toxic!
Lemon Balm - leaf raw as salad nibble - very strong lemon flavour...you do not need much in a salad! Makes a great herb tea.
Sycamore leaf bud - raw as salad nibble - slightly bitter peapod flavour.
 
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Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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I introduced my six year-old grandson to sorrel on Monday. He liked it so much he had to take a big bunch home with him; I suspect his mother will have thrown it in the bin :(
 

John Fenna

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With the Lesser Celendine the roots take forever to harvest - I rake them up with an Antler pick - clean and cook... for very little food!
The leaves are a Herbal medicine - blood cleanser - and the roots give some carbs, so despite the toxic issue they seem more benificial than many plants around at this time of year...
 

Toddy

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Not strictly foraging but.... they like sandy open-ish soil. Mine root between pavers and I dig up the little tubers like a handful of mini mini spuds.
If you lift a couple of the tubers and plant them in a biggish plant pot and leave them in peace, it's easy to dig them out in the future. You only need to put a couple back to keep it going.
Biggest problem I have is that the woodpigeons love the leaves and flowers as well as the tubers, and they howk out the plants leaving a mess on the paths.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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Eat the wood pigeons. Might as well forage for everything.
What evidence is in the paleo middens?
There must be phytoliths on the oldest grind stones ( starch grains, bits of leaf epidermis, etc.)
 

Woody girl

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Mar 31, 2018
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I picked a few primrose flowers today and coated them with egg white and caster sugar. They are now slowly drying ready to decorate my easter cake. Have been looking for violets to do the same but they all seem to have disappeared from their usual location. Hope I can find some or my cake will look a bit bare this year!
 

John Fenna

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Masses of Violets up here - more than I have seen in years!
I would crystalise some myself - but I am still watching my weight so sugar is still restricted....
 

Riven

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Dec 23, 2006
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With the sun shining on Saturday we decided to do a bit of foraging whilst walking the dogs. This was the resulting meal.
Nettle soup followed by wood pigeon and pheasant breasts (in freezer from my uncles shoot) with cleavers, fat- hen and cow parsley.
The soup was delicious, fat-hen and cow parsley pretty good but the cleavers were not winners. Oh and for once I didn't find any shot in the meat so alls good.
Its definitely worth getting to recognise and use some of this free food and we will be looking for more as the summer comes along.
 

bigboned

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Feb 17, 2016
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Wild edibles maybe except for brambles is something I know nothing of- spoilt I guess, what book or resource should I use to help identify edibles?
I love the idea of gathering a salad whilst out walking, I don’t know why but I just never got round to learning I guess.

Sorry for jumping in John
 

Woody girl

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Noticed the lime trees locally are in flower today. I shall be collecting and drying some of the flowers for lime flower tea. They are quite good fresh brewed into tea aswell. A teaspoon of honey realy brings the floral flavour out beautifully.
 

Ascobis

Forager
Nov 3, 2017
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Wisconsin, USA
on topic, really.

Years ago I was single, unemployed, and dirt-poor. I could not afford to ask gals out; I had to invite them to my place so I could cook on my budget. One time I put something inexpensive in parchment paper with julienned carrots. While that baked, I said, "follow me", and led my date down to the park where I collected wild onions. Tossed those in a salad, good meal.

Many years later, I recounted this story to my wife. She exclaimed, "That was you?" Turns out that she and my date of years before knew one another and the tale had been told. Luckily for me, my wife had married me before she found out that I was that weird guy who ate plants from the park.

Moral of the story: OP, be careful who you cook for. Or be lucky.
 
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Woody girl

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Wild garlic pesto made today. Instead of pine nuts I used the last of the autumn collected hazel nuts. Very yummy on pasta for tea tonight and some still in the fridge for a couple more meals.
I think cleavers need to be picked at no more than an inch high to be edible. Not too keen myself either but mixed into some bought salad leaves along with some pennywort and home grown pea shoots they are OK. Once they start to grow those tiny hooks it's like eating velcro!
 

John Fenna

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Today I have been nibbling on the first Wood Sorrel and Butchers Broom flowers - as well as Cleavers, Wild Garlic, Jack by the Hedge and Violets - I love strolling the lanes at this time of year!