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Outdoorsy shite. Foraging for food.

(30 Posts)
FryingNemo Sun 01-Apr-12 13:19:56

I am sad today as I have finished the last of frozen blackberries I foraged last year. However, I am excitedly looking forward to this year's foraging.

What are you foraging for and how do you eat it? I'm thinking of nettles but have never cooked them before. Any suggestions?

Northey Sun 01-Apr-12 13:46:42

Wild garlic leaves I'm thinking of trying this year.

No advice at all re nettles, I'm afraid.

FryingNemo Sun 01-Apr-12 17:50:00

My Dad has told me how they used to eat them during the war - boiled on mashed swede. I was thinking more of a risotto though.

I have never found wild garlic around here. Where does it normally grow? Apart from gryke microclimates...

Northey Sun 01-Apr-12 18:21:30

I find it on damp slopes in wooded areas, myself smile

My old Estonian neighbours used to make nettle soup at this time of year.

Selks Sun 01-Apr-12 19:28:25

Yep have foraged some wild garlic leaves. Had them pan fried with bacon bits then stirred into pasta....yum.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 03-Apr-12 16:16:21

I never saw wild garlic till I moved to Yorkshire - I don't think it's everywhere.

When I was out walking the other day I found what I thought was alexanders but turned out to be sweet cicely; it was very aniseedy and sweet tasting. So as well as my quest for alexanders I am now desperate to find some more sweet cicely.

Last time I did nettle soup it was vile, but apparently this is because there are lots of different kinds of nettles and I must have got a nasty variety. I did a nice nettle quiche years ago.

I grew up near a muddy estuary and we used to forage samphire from the mudflats - it's lovely.

The one I'm really looking forward to is bilberries. Much nicer than bought blueberries, and huge fun to pick, because of the way you look at a stretch of the plants and don't see any at all, and then you gradually get your eye in and see more and more.

FryingNemo Tue 03-Apr-12 18:21:23

I can't wait for bilberry season!

Well, I tried nettles today and they were not bad as a spinach replacement. A bit fiddly to handle but an experiment that may be repeated.

It might be too dry round here for garlic. We are in real need of rain (but after the Easter weekend please).

fivegomadindorset Tue 03-Apr-12 18:32:47

I want to have a go at Wild Garlic this year.
Obviously not yet for the last two)
Might give elderberries a go this year.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 03-Apr-12 18:37:17

mmm, I'd forgotten the elderflowers, elderberries and sloes!

I've done elderflower fritters once, I liked them but dh didn't. This year I'll probably do some kind of cordial to use in cooking.

Last year I made elderberry syrup which is lovely either in white wine like a Kir, or as a placebo for the kids when they think they need Calpol and I don't.

Sloe gin was also a great success and I will definitely do it again.

fivegomadindorset Tue 03-Apr-12 18:40:11

We are getting through our crab apple schnapps that we made last year (in garden not wild) but great if you can find any.

loiner45 Tue 03-Apr-12 18:52:32

I've just developed an addiction to nettle pizza - just use them like you would spinach - on top grin. I'm very happy that nettle season is here at last.

For the best nettle soup - only the young tender tops, potato, carrot, onions and stock. Proceed as if you were making a potato soup, when harder veg are cooked then add washed nettles, simmer for a couple of minutes then puree. Serve with yoghurt / cream etc to taste - the trick is in the balance of veg, you really need to think "nice veg soup" i.e. would taste good without nettles, then the added nettles just make it extra nice!

EssieW Tue 03-Apr-12 18:56:07

Love wild garlic. Have frozen it as wild garlic butter before. Can then do gorgeous roast chicken

colditz Tue 03-Apr-12 18:57:22

I made backberry vodka last year, and I must say that it wasw absolutely delicious, and very easy to make. Like a cross between neat Ribena,and a good ruby port.

fivegomadindorset Tue 03-Apr-12 18:58:23

Blackberry whiskey is also excellent..

TunipTheVegemal Tue 03-Apr-12 18:58:43

<makes notes re nettle pizza>

It's a great idea. I love spinach pizza.
Only problem is, I only have one gardening glove atm as the mice chewed the other - could wear a plastic bag on my hand or something I suppose.

loiner45 Tue 03-Apr-12 20:19:05

ah - I have a method for picking the nettles - you only need one glove and a pair of scissors! scissor hand is ungloved, hold one top leaf in gloved hand and snip off top of nettle with scissors.

you can get really clever and snip it off and use the scissors like tweezers to pick the top up and place in bowl / bag.

best gloves are washing up ones - the sting goes right through my gardening gloves leaving tingly finger tips shock

TunipTheVegemal Tue 03-Apr-12 20:20:27

thanks Loiner. I have washing up gloves!

loiner45 Tue 03-Apr-12 20:23:16

Blackcurrant vodka is good too - and the Mulberry rum was rather nice.... sloe gin is still in a darkened cupboard waiting for summer....

so pleased to have found this section grin

bronze Tue 03-Apr-12 20:32:29

I use nettles in place of cooked spinach, lovely with gnocchi in a cheese sauce.
I'm still eating my way through last years apple chutney, I think I made rather too much seeing as only I eat but may have been a good thing as I now live in a town were though foraging is not impossible there is definitely less about.
I have one last container of stewed plums left too
It's going to be a whole new experience this year.
I know this lady does brilliantly in town so will be taking a few tips from her

FryingNemo Tue 03-Apr-12 22:30:14

Blackberry whiskey? Ummm. I have already made sloe gin but the whiskey thing sounds nice. Tell me more please.

fivegomadindorset Tue 03-Apr-12 22:34:30


FryingNemo Mon 09-Apr-12 17:03:42

Butter bean and nettle stew tonight. DH and the DCs will be told it is spinach. smile

TunipTheVegemal Mon 09-Apr-12 20:02:04

sounds lovely!
Is it a recipe or have you just substituted the nettles for spinach?

FryingNemo Wed 11-Apr-12 11:35:19

Just a substitution. And very nice it was too.

missielizzieb Wed 02-May-12 18:43:18

Great! Excited about this discussion.

I have yet to try nettles (a bit scared about picking them TBH!)

Not sure if I'm allowed to post links, but I've blogged some Wild Garlic recipes, and dandelion cookies which are also delicious. Hope someone finds them useful x

Wild garlic is growing in abundance in my local woods in Bedfordshire.

and dandelions are growing in abundance in my lawn smile

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