Sunday, 19 May 2013

Feasty foraging

Spring is finally upon us in all her glory. It only seemed like yesterday that I looked with despair from the windows at the bare trees waiting to be dressed for the season several weeks behind schedule, and today I go out to observe how nature has rapidly graced the scene with a blanket of lush green and coloured sprinkles. Somehow this new scene seems very familiar, it's as if it has always been there.

With everything rapidly sprouting it is hard for us keen foragers not to notice the sudden influx of free food readily available in our surroundings, I talked about the wild garlic that I have been enthusiastically gathering for the past month. That is still out there in abundance where I am, although sadly not for all of you, I am told. The pungent flavour has now spread from the leaves to the flowers, still delicious though and the flowers themselves now add beauty of a different kind to salads so still worth looking out for.

This week we decided to take a walk and see what else is out there. Every year I try and learn a few more things that can be added to the table in some way or other. My children are growing up to be so knowledgeable about these things, I love it! It was only on Friday this week that Small boy suddenly yelled out whilst we were driving 'There's Jack by the Hedge'! Jack in the Hedge is also known as Garlic Mustard, it has a slightly garlicky/peppery taste, great to add to mixed salads.

So salad hunting we did go and this is what we found.....please step this way.........

Ground Elder - This is all over my garden and is most gardeners worst nightmare. I haven't given it a try as yet but it's supposed to be a great 'spinach like' alternative.

Dandelions - also know as 'Piss a bed'....quite funny I think as dandelions are a diuretic. The young leaves and flowers can be added to salads or I've made many a quiche using them.

Cleavers - also known as 'Sticky Willy', these are the plants that stick to you and later in the season their annoying little seed balls stick to your pets and are rather time consuming to remove! They taste a little like pea shoots.
                     Jack by the hedge - This is the Garlic/mustard tasting plant I referred to earlier.

Such a treat was experienced by all on this walk (I do so love being at one with nature), we are so fortunate to live so close to such beautiful animals and creatures. We stood and starred for quite sometime. The animals knew we were there but the distance between us made them feel secure enough to continue basking in the sunshine!
A lovely bed of wild garlic!
Snacking on the way.......
Small boy is always on the look out for skulls and interesting treasures....
Beauty in the woods
Check out these Jelly Ears....gathered for tea....
Tad ah!! Mixed wild salad with a dash of lemon juice and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt, fried jelly ears, roasted butternut squash and carrot and beetroot salad with cous cous, oooh and a blob of mayo......delicious!!

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