Forage and feast
It’s good to exercise a bit of caution if you are not familiar with wild plants. Always check the identity of what you pick before you use it.
If on private land, get permission from the owner before filling your baskets and remember to avoid areas where lots of pets, people or traffic passes because the plants that grow here are likely to be covered in pollutants.
Wild is best – if you are buying plants from a shop or garden centre avoid eating as many will have been sprayed with pesticides.
Never uproot plants, instead just pick a few leaves/blossoms from each one so they can re-grow.
Some of our wild plants are incredibly potent and may affect those with allergies or health conditions. Hawthorn and other unassuming plants can affect the heart and other organs significantly. They can help but also harm so it’s always best to do your research or take an introduction to foraging before you start.
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Chef and founder of Boggle Lane Foods, Nikki Bawn, guides us through the wonders of wild food.
Over the past century, the ancient knowledge of wild food has faded as populations become more detached from our natural world.
However, I’m very pleased to say that foraging and wild food pursuits are making a comeback with more people discovering the miracles of Mother Nature.
I’m thrilled to give you a simple and regular guide to seasonal wild food and what a time to start!
Spring and early summer are simply bursting with wonderful finds that will dazzle you with their nutritional, healing and flavoursome attributes.
Delving into the magical world of wild food is growing in popularity and, like the lovely peeps who come along to our foraging workshops, once you begin to delve into the power of nature, you will no doubt never look at woodlands, hedgerows or even your gardens in the same way.
The abundance of flowers and plants that nurture, heal and add unique flavour to our food is simply staggering. From the savoury wild garlic and mustard family to the cheerful sweetness of buds, blossoms and blooms, there are endless possibilities to our wild plants. All will add taste, beauty or healing and nutrition to the simplest of dishes and drinks.
So, whet your appetite – take a wander into our wonderful countryside and start to explore the abundance on offer. You’ll be surprised how quickly you will start to recognise the friendly foraging finds on offer.
CRYSTALLISING BLOOMS AND BLOSSOMS
Whisk one egg white with a little cold water until it looks like a soapy mixture.
Take a flat tray, line with a baking sheet and then pour a layer of caster sugar over the sheet.
Make sure your chosen blooms are free of dirt, greenery, stamens and moisture – then take a clean, fine paintbrush and carefully coat every surface, front and back.
Lay each bloom face down first in the sugar and carefully cover as much of the surface (front and back) with sugar.
Place each sugared flower on a clean plate or tray to dry.
After 1-2 days you’ll have beautiful bloom decorations.
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