Adele Nozedar, forager extraordinaire and knower of all things that grow, talks us through re-discovering common plants we might find in our back gardens or out on our walks, and how they can be used in ways you’d never thought of!
Hi there! Adele here, from Brecon Beacons Foraging. I was really upset when I realized that social distancing meant that I wouldn’t be able to take people foraging. One by one all of my jobs got cancelled as the interesting situation unfolded.
However, are we beaten? Not a blooming bit of it! Looking for interesting plants is one of the best ways to use your exercise time, learn lots of new things AND provide ingredients to add to your dinner!
I’ve taken the plants from all of my three foraging books and used them as a whistle-stop guide to what you can forage from your own garden and immediate surroundings.
In Your Garden…wild stuff!
(The Hedgerow Handbook)
Daisies! Not only are the petals, leaves and yellow bit in the middle all edible, BUT you can also make your own bruise salve which works just like arnica.
Dandelions! Again, petals, leaves and roots are edible! Petals can be baked into fairy cakes, popped into your rice to make it look as though you’ve used saffron (sneaky) or simply scattered over an otherwise-dull salad. Leaves are also great in salads – tear them up and mix them in. And the roots can be dug up and ground into a very decent coffee substitute, although autumn is the best time to harvest, just like a root vegetable.
In Your Garden….tame stuff!
(The Garden Forager)
Lilac is in full swing here in Llanfrynach! It tastes like it smells, if you can imagine that. Best way to use is as an infusion; how about adding a handful of the tiny flowers to caster sugar, leaving for a few days then stirring into double cream to make your strawberries extra special?
Day lilies! Absolutely gorgeous flavour. Open up the flower and stuff a dollop of ice cream inside. So good it’s bad! Just a word of warning – this is the only lily that is edible. If you’re not sure it’s a day lily than don’t eat it.
Just outside the garden…Jack by the Hedge!
(Foraging with Kids)
Unsurprisingly, you will find these plants near hedges and wasteland. The churchyard near me is full of them. You can eat the flowers, leaves and tender young stems. It’s a member of the mustard family and this is what it tastes of. Its many names (Penny Hedge, Garlic Root, Sauce Plant) tells us that the plant was once very much loved – and as a sauce it is DELISH with fresh pasta such as a tagliatelle!
Ground Ivy or Alehoof! A member of the mint family, this pretty little creeping plant is recognizable right now by its tiny purple flowers, which twinkle at you from ground level. A member of the mint family, it has as many uses as your imagination will allow…. for instance, how about popping some into a nice cold lemonade as a reward for all your hard work?
There is a lot more info about these plants and many many more in my books: The Hedgerow Handbook, The Garden Forager and Foraging with Kids. You can buy them from me at the discounted price of £15 including postage and packing. Just contact me via Facebook here.