With the lighter nights, you know Spring is here with Summer following in hot pursuit. With the changing season comes the first real bounty of foraging delights of the year…
The dandelions, chickweed, hairy bittercress, hawthorn, wood sorrel and yarrow (this list just keeps going!) are all out there waiting for you. An example list of what is easily available is shown at the end of the blog.
You don’t have to wander far at this time of year, in fact a simple wander round the garden can be enough to get you started. You never know what is lurking out there just waiting to be picked and eaten.
Researching what you can eat and can’t eat is invaluable. I’m a great believer in taking photos of plants that I am unsure of and using a plant ID app to find out what they are. Once you start researching into the edible foraging world you quickly begin to realise that there is so much out there that you walk pass and never give a second glance that you can actually do so much with. Just make sure you know what you are eating/picking and if in doubt, don’t do it!
The view from the office window incorporates a line of fir trees and until recently I did not realise there was so much you can do with pine needles. I was astounded by the list! You can steep them in hot water to make a simple tea or this same concoction can be used flavour soups, bread and sauces. They can be used to infuse marinades for fish and meats, the list goes on. This year I am going to have a bash at pine needle vinegar, it is supposed to be up there with balsamic vinegar. Go on- give it a try.
We have dried lots of different pine needles and one tree in particular dries really well. When you open the jar you are whisked back to the fairground days and candy floss. This particular tree is now called the Candy Floss pine tree and is one of the most popular botanics used here at the Gin School.
There are some amazing websites with fantastic ideas as to what to gather and what to do with it when you get it home. The key to it is to be brave, try it out. Not everything will be to your taste but when you find something that does and it outs there growing for free then wasn’t it worth it?
What to look out for this Summer;
Yarrow – Achillea Millefolium
Scots Pine – Pinus sylvestris
Wood Sorrel – Oxalis acetosella
Meadowsweet – Filipendula ulmaria
Bog Myrtle – Myrica gale
Dandelions – Taraxacum
Nettle – Urtica dioica
Honeysuckle – Lonicera