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Frank Hovis

Foraging Guide

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I've read foraging books and find that by aiming to be comprehensive they end up swamping you with detail. So thread for individual tips.

Sea beet / wild spinach

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_beet

img_1225.jpg?w=300&h=225

Like a cross between spinach and cabbage but better than both when cooked. Easy to gather in quantity without damaging the plant as you tend to find many together and the leaves usually crowd each other out so you can take several. Very variable in appearance so it takes a while to recognise all of them rather than just the obvious examples with their big green glossy leaves. Always grows near the sea but not right by it. Gather year round, it doesn't matter if the plant has gone to seed.

You can eat the younger leaves in salads but they don't really impress me, I'll stick some in if I have them to hand but I wouldn't gather them just for this. The big thick leaves when cooked are superb.

Always wash twice and don't gather leaves from beside paths where dogs may have scented on the plants.

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Spooky.... collected some wonderful fresh wild garlic leaves and flowers, great wilted in stir fry or with new or mashed potatoes.....or saluted with a little butter.....so much out there but very important to respect the countryside.

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Just bought 30 bags of noodles @39p each from a Chinese shop in Mill road Cambridge. Yes I`m that tight....usually 42p.

Demae ramen (Japanese) is the best....far better than Chinese rubbish. Try duck and seafood flavours....delicious....!

Oh yeah....

Foraged foods.....to you and I that means stuff you bung in.

Leaves from kale, leaves from past it broccoli, `wild garlic`, wild sparrow grass and not so wild spinach.

Boil for as long or short a time as you dear....then add noodles.

I thank you.

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I've had deep fried hosta leaves for the first time this week, very nice - like the deep fried "seaweed" you get in Chinese.

Wild garlic then from one of you two? Quick read guide and how much of it you eat. Sea beet for example can make up half my meal; it's not just a pretty garnish.

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I was eyeing up the elderflowers next to my plot last night. They're just starting to bloom.

I made some elderflower 'champagne' a couple of years ago and finished off the last bottle a couple of weeks ago. Worth a punt for anyone into home brewing IMHO. I used a dedicated yeast but it often starts fermenting of its own accord...

https://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/sparkling-elderflower-wine

(I grow masses of cultivated chard/ beet and consider it a staple. Mixed up with ricotta/ cream cheese it makes a good filling for pasta dishes.)

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Sea beet / wild spinach

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_beet

Like a cross between spinach and cabbage but better than both when cooked.

Interesting - thanks for that. A new one on me!

Spooky.... collected some wonderful fresh wild garlic leaves and flowers, great wilted in stir fry or with new or mashed potatoes.....or saluted with a little butter.....so much out there but very important to respect the countryside.

Wherezat? Wild Garlic is lovely in April, but getting a bit old and tough and losing its flavour by now.

Nettles are currently 'on' and nettle soups can be surprisingly nice...

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/stinging-nettle-soup/

Nettles likewise. Much nicer when they're fresh and tender, so better a month or two back IMHO.

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Nettles likewise. Much nicer when they're fresh and tender, so better a month or two back IMHO.

For sure, there still are one or two little uns here and there.

I skipped the dandelion leaf recommendation for similar reasons, past their best now.

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Hawthorn berries. All sorts can be done with them, tea, jiuce/tonic. Mash up the softer ones and dry into sheets which can be cut into individual sweets. Easy to find.

http://huntergathercook.typepad.com/huntergathering_wild_fres/2008/09/the-strange-properties-of-hawthorn-1.html

Blackthorn - Sloes, sloe gin, up there with the best/most reliable like elderflower wine/champagne as mentioned above.

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Elderberries make a great wine. But you have to keep it in the bottle for six months or so.

Whatever happened to these "beer kits" you used to get? They were rubbish weren't they?

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Looking forward to mushroom season!

I shall be playing all that "head music" on vinyl I shall party like 1975.

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Wherezat? Wild Garlic is lovely in April, but getting a bit old and tough and losing its flavour by now.

In the woods, there were swathes of it, growing amongst the bluebells, some patches had slightly smaller leaves but all very tasty, not that different to spinach, I would imagine it would be ideal to put in a liquidiser to drink with other ingredients, very healthy, the garlic taste and smell is stronger when raw than when cooked. ;)

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OK, I take back what I said about wild garlic. At least in part. The warmth of this evening seems to have given it a new lease of life.

And the nettles may be a little past their best, but are still not bad. Especially when they're going to be processed a bit, as in a wine, a yarg, a tea, or pretty-much anything more prepared than a salad.

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Interesting - thanks for that. A new one on me!

Wherezat? Wild Garlic is lovely in April, but getting a bit old and tough and losing its flavour by now.

Nettles likewise. Much nicer when they're fresh and tender, so better a month or two back IMHO.

Will vary according to location I reckon. Can be nearly a month between south and north in terms of when things are at their best.

Ransoms (wild garlic) flowers are lovely in boiled egg sarnies. Sorrel is also nice this time of year. A few leaves will add a nice acidity to salads.

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Yes Mr Pin....those beer kits were rubbish.

I`ve got a £10.50 beer kit from Tesco that I`m about to try...well in about 3 weeks anyway.

I just have a pressure barrel....

Will let you know if it`s any good.

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Oil beef hooked if I'm eating nettles but wild garlic grows like a weed across large areas of my garden. Wild garlic pesto is the ******ing nuts though.

I've had to deforest large swathes of it so probably lost a load of useful plants. I had high hopes for something with a rather tuber like root but it seems to be wild quinine.

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Due to one of my more quirky interests, I've been trying to find out where to get wild herbs and plants...things like Horsetail/Chivers.

I've tried looking at a few guides but they seem a bit vague...as in where are you actually best off going to find these things growing wild. Or maybe it's just a case of heading of somewhere with a napsack on my back? :)

P

Plenty of horsetail on my allotment. ?

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I definitely get the appeal of foraging and have eaten wild mushrooms I've collected in the past. However, I do worry that stuff being either cheap or free is a massive flavour enhancer for HPC off-topicers.

I'm quite pleased not to currently have any home brew/wine-making enthusiasts in my family/social network. I recall having to surreptitiously pour away a large glass of home-made wine, into a nearby plant pot, on a visit to a mad aunts and I noticed the plant had mysteriously disappeared when on a future visit.

Actually, I'm not sure why prefixing things with 'home-made', like pub food etc., is seen as such a great selling point. Would anyone be flocking to a garage that enthusiastically advertised 'home-made cars' with an A-board on the grass verge?

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There was a dead pigeon in the road by my allotment earlier today. Intact, but very dead. Victim of a car. An hour later it was gone.

What should I deduce from this?

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There was a dead pigeon in the road by my allotment earlier today. Intact, but very dead. Victim of a car. An hour later it was gone.

What should I deduce from this?

Your allotment is on the site of a pet cemetery.

I you ever murder your wife do not bury her there!

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Ah, all I have to do now is hunt you down and stalk you :)

Excuse ignorance, is it common?

P

Very common, and almost impossible to eradicate. Try asking on any allotment. Seems to be more common there than in private gardens.

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There was a dead pigeon in the road by my allotment earlier today. Intact, but very dead. Victim of a car. An hour later it was gone.

What should I deduce from this?

There's a little back road around here which leads to the garden centre where, if I drive in one direction and see a dead pheasant - recently killed, as it's intact - and then drive back the other way 20 minutes later, it has gone.

There aren't many foxes in the countryside. I suspect it's too big and heavy for a buzzard to lift.

I conclude that someone stops and collects them to have for dinner.

Separately, I've wondered why people pay three quid for two dozen blackberries in Sainsbury's when they grow everywhere.

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