How I’ve used my foraged food pt2 

Well I’ve been having a pretty fantastic few months busy as a bee but an extremely happy one at that the mushroom season has had a great start giving me some fine hauls of prime edibles and some great meet ups with some fellow foragers but the most exciting prospect was receiving the proof of my book ‘ A foragers lunch , actually holding a accumulation of my ramblings was undoubtedly a massive buzz. 

I’ve wanted to have a stab at a book for a while and writing about my number one skill ( looking after my belly ) seemed to be the obvious route to take and now I’m really close with a release date of February  – March of next year I’m really excited just one last fungi to find and include and I’m done .

So here’s some more of my efforts of utilising wild ingredients into my lunch that hopefully will spark your own imagination .  

  Mussels and cod in a white wine and wild thyme sauce with blanched samphire. 

 Salty seaweed bisque served with egg noodles and a fennel seed crusted bass fillet & crispy seaweed
 Sea sandwort & smoked bacon joint soup seasoned with hogweed & Alexander seeds  
  
Haw berry & spruce pollen pancakes with wild strawberries and birch sap syrup and elderflower 
   Bath asparagus with pennoni pasta in a truffle sauce .
   Pan fried king prawn in a wild ginger and wall pepper sauce with purslane , sandwort & arrow-grass 
  Scollops on fairy ring champion with grilled hogweed bud 
  Weeds , herb coated cod fillet and wonderfully citrusy fried spruce tips.
   Filo parcel is full of St. George’s with a wild thyme and cream sauce 
  
Salted and flaked mackerel with a filo wrapped creamed St. George and thyme parcel with garlic flowers 

   
  St George and sea veg pasta parcels with wild garlic and honey drizzle 

  Seabeet and mixed seaweed quiche laced with blue cheese 

  Crayfish on a wild garlic and elfcup base 
   Trout on hogweed shoots, elfcups and glistening inkcaps severed with bread and radish pesto  

   Coastal veg frittata with foraged spring salad with a balsamic and truffle oil dressing 

  Fillet steak served with Chanterelles & Fairy ring Champignons in a truffle and blue cheese sauce  
  Scallops & black pudding with sauteed hogweed buds , dryads saddle and oak leaf crisps 

  mixed wild mushroom and smoked bacon pies with a oak smoked / wild sage cheese sauce  
  Roadkill pigeon on a sweet and sour compote of summer fruits  

   Roadkill rabbit with chanterelles mixed wild herbs & @edenwildfood s ash key pickle  

  Hogweed and wild thyme puff pastry squares with a sirloin roll with chanterelles ,purslane and sea beet  

 A chaga chocolate tarte , acorn and chaga base with a chaga and cocoa filling  

Seaweed and crab cakes with crispy fried bullrush root  

  Campfire venison and wild mushroom stew 

 Deep-fried reindeer moss with hedgehog fungi sea salt and crushed alexander seed toped with thyme .

Chicken of the woods , my ideas for preserving

Well the mushroom season is upon us and this year seems to be a strange one starting and stopping with the lack of rain and the high temperatures bringing periods of little growth and then good flushes ,
The fantastically vibrant chicken of the woods has been no exception I at one point was thinking I wouldn’t be finding any as frequent trips to my spots came up short but they came just later than I expected .

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Wild parsnip , Not for the wary forager

This is probably the most difficult post I’ve made regarding wild edibles as I’ve been pondering on the ramifications of this plant as a foragable resource and if the promotion of its foragability alone is an act of irresponsibility in itself or is it more responsible to promote awareness of hazards within foraging ,
I think back to my first seasons of foraging and I can say it was without eating a single plant , mushroom or wild edible I made a pact with myself to be able to identify the dangers of foraging before I could find the prizes mainly rammed into me by my father who had a keen interest in the outdoors and in a time when foraging was less publicly deemed as an exciting skill .

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horseradish more than just a root ??

Horse-radish – Armoracia Rusticana

I’m no lover of hot foods like chilli or even curry but there is something quite different about the heat from mustard and horseradish that I enjoy it has a way of making me feel quite comfortable probably a strange description of horseradish but it’s mine anyways ,
Now everyone has probably at one time or another tasted horseradish sauce and it seems to have a marmite reaction with people and I find it astonishing that it’s the only common use of this great wild edible .
All parts of the horseradish are edible and have different degrees of use all of them carrying the underlying horseradish taste and heat , many of our wild greens that are available in quantity are relatively bland and left wanting in taste horseradish offers this in quantity , I’m not saying a nice big plate of blanched leaf is a good way forward but adding a few young sprouting leafs to a bigger quantity of bland greens such as lambs quarters is a big improvement , I’ve been experimenting with the leaf for some time now and I’ve had some results worth sharing .

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Edible Cambium ‘Bast ‘ finding , harvesting and use

I’m not sure how common this is in the uk but it’s something I feel is massively underused and is in danger of being lost from our history completely ,
Cambium or ‘bast ‘ is the growing tissue of a tree which adds new growth to the circumference of a tree it contains carbs in the form of sugars ,
I find it hard to group cambium to a food group … It can be a sweet but also a steamed or roasted like veg or dried and pounded into flour in any instance it is a massive wild resource.
I have no doubt at all that our ancestors would of used this to its full potential , although I have found no standing reference to it within uk history but you don’t have to look far to find massive references to its importance to hunter gatherer communities in fact in communities in America were still harvesting and processing well into the 1900s and was such an important part of their diet that their name in the Mohawk indian language means “tree eaters and cambium collection was a big and important part of the food year it is this that concretes my belief that hunter gatherer communities in the uk would have taken part in similar exercises .

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Foraging pine nuts……. am I nuts ??

I’ve collected pine cones for the nuts more and more as I’ve realised how versatile the nuts are , they first took my liking as a roasted crunch to top of salads and this quickly moved on to adding them to many more of my recipes.
As far as I’m aware and this is not bomb prof so research on your tree needs to be done prior to harvesting any cones is that there is no poisonous pine nut and they are all indeed edible and it’s the individual tree that determines wether or not it will and this is mostly about size and types of shell that defines if they are worth harvesting .

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Sakura , A gift from a fellow forager

One of my favourite aspects of foraging is preserving and different methods of preserving wild foods without the use of modern day amenities such as fridges and freezers ,
Today I was lucky enough to be invited out for a forage with some students from my local university , I had a really good time and enjoyed sharing some of my wild food experiences with them and I turn theirs with me .
It was obvious that the group was very knowledgable and I was quite humbled that I was asked to take them out it was a mixed group and one member in particular ‘Cho, I found fascinating as is with a lot of people who come from different parts of the world they seem to see so much more than us locals and this was once again true of her ,

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My apple cider vinegar , the marriage of alcohol and time,

There are two reasons why vinegar is going to be a process that I intend to embrace this year , firstly is that it makes great use of a waste product when making cider vinegar I use the cores and peel of the apples that are left over from my preserve making ,
The second is I’m learning fast how utterly fantastic a simple salad can be made with a drizzle of flavoured vinegar

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Arum Lilly “worth the process “??

Arum maculatum / lords and lady’s

I quite often have the conversation with other people about lords and lady’s (Arum maculatum) generally I love the chats as it nearly always ends up with a new common name being learned as it seems to have a multitude of regional names ,and then inevitably the fact that most people as a child are told its poisonous my favourite story has to be that the fruit spike of the plant is snake food and the berries are where the snakes poison comes from .

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