Take in the season!
Nikki Bawn of Boggle Lane Foods shares the joys of spring foraging.
As big winter coats finally become confined to cupboards, we are surrounded by a wonderful sense of optimism. For me, May heralds the joys of the sun and everything it brings with it and it’s one of the most defining moments in nature’s calendar.
Traditions include bathing in May’s morning dew to enhance one’s beauty and dancing around a maypole to encourage a good harvest.
A seismic change in habits and habitats can be seen everywhere now. Spring will soon make way for summer and gardeners are watching expectantly as their labours of pruning, planting and pampering begin to produce blossoms, fruit and flowers. Nests and burrows are abuzz with new arrivals and the muddy tracks and wild footpaths of our natural landscapes become carpeted with lush grass.
There’s a special section of the famous 145-mile-long Viking Way near Nettleton, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which provides a perfect place to explore your inner forager. This fine example of the timeless, ancient Lincolnshire countryside welcomes wanderers with stunning scenery.
Explore here and you will be following in the footsteps of those who hunted and gathered more than 10,000 years ago. You’ll find valleys enclosed by steep woodlands, rolling hills, grazing pastures and even old iron mines.
Gathering wild greens
Now is the perfect time to spot flowers and butterflies found nowhere else, thanks to the geology of lime and chalk beds providing the perfect habitat.
But, you can take far more in than the beautiful sights on your adventures. I love to gather wild greens as I walk and then take them back to the kitchen to create the perfect crisps and salads. These are the completely compatible partners for cold drinks and alfresco snacking on a hot day. My favourite crisp candidate is black mustard leaves which are deliciously moreish!
You’ll find it in the form of an upright plant, with large, stalked leaves covered with hairs or bristles at the base and smooth stems. This plant can reach a height of around four feet. It blooms from May onwards with four-petalled, yellow flowers. Apparently it’s a very good antioxidant and like many wild finds it is full of goodness.
There are plenty of others to find which you can use and all are nutritiously delicious including: dock, chicory, garlic mustard, lamb’s quarters, mallow, plantain and many more.
Bring back a few to savour the sights, sounds and tastes from your travels, you won’t regret it – as long as you check the identity of each before you eat them of course!
For more information visit: www.bogglelane.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org