Put a spring in your step
Nikki Bawn of Boggle Lane Foods shares ideas for enjoying nature’s seasonal pantry.
Winter is bleak but March fulfils the prophecy of daffodils! I love this little poem and the sentiment could not be more true now.
As new life bursts through every available patch of soil in fields, forests and hedgerows, most of us will be sensing optimism and our energy levels are set to rise just as the sun’s height does every day.
Lincolnshire’s landscapes spoil us for choice when it comes to diversity and beauty. There’s many an outdoor adventure to be had, from strolls across grassy, picturesque valleys, to steep hill climbs and exploration of dense woodlands.
Ancient buildings and abandoned iron mines and even remnants of Roman vineyards are among the list of things to add to interest for explorers.
For anyone who may think our county is flat, there is plenty to help dispel this myth. The Wolds offers some of the best, far-reaching views that stretch as far as the Humber Bridge and even Lincoln Cathedral. And of course, there’s always Lincoln’s Steep Hill which is sure to help put the record straight!
Savouring the season
I love spring and I do my best to savour every bit of the season. More time outdoors is the order of the day, to enjoy the light which seems cleaner, sharper and more brilliant. The combination of this with the crispness of the air and sights of lush growth definitely lifts the spirits.
If walking isn’t your thing, find a park bench or take a blanket, lean against an old tree and sit in nature. There’s plenty to see and all of it is guaranteed to pep you up.
Watch farmers industriously trimming, planting and propagating. Listen to the musical chorus of birds which grows louder and richer each day as our feathered friends return from far-off travels to join in the song.
The animals, increasingly excited about the future, busy themselves with preparations for new arrivals.
Among the greenery, there are spring flowers that are edible; you might come across one of the most potent and delicious, forager’s favourite, wild garlic.
It can be found in damp woodlands, shady lanes and under some hedgerows. Like the bluebell, it prefers slightly acidic soil so if you know a good bluebell wood it’s likely you’ll find wild garlic there too, anytime from March to June – although you’re more likely to smell it before you see it.
Wild garlic leaves are at their best and most flavoursome when bright green before the flowers open. You can harvest leaves, stems, flowers and seed pods using scissors. Pick a little here and there, so that the plant can regrow.
As well as wild garlic, young nettles, dandelions, cleavers, clover, Creeping Charlie, sweet violets, hawthorn leaves and a whole host of other edible spring plants are plentiful now.
Like many wild plants, they will wilt after picking so use quickly or refrigerate in a sealed bag. They’re great raw in salads, sandwiches, dressings and finely chopped as a garnish. You can add them to hot potatoes and soups, or make a pesto, and if you’re feeling adventurous, create a wild, leafy butter for herby, hot bread. Or, like me, you can savour the season by preserving leaves. Dehydrate, or add them to honey, pickles, chutneys and vinegars.
Many of the spring plants I’ve listed will give your body a boost too, as they can possess antibacterial, antibiotic and possibly antiviral properties – not to mention vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and copper etc. Great to help reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
There are lots of walking routes to try and sights to see, so get your coat and enjoy the season with a spring in your step!
For more information visit: www.bogglelane.co.uk or email email@example.com