Do you know your nettles from your navelwort? Your ramsons from your rosemary? There’s a host of edible delights nestling in our hedgerows – if you know what to look for! We invited expert forager Emma Gunn of Never Mind the Burdocks to run some special foraging walks for us at Bosinver.
We are lucky to have acres of gardens at Bosinver which are beautiful to look at and, in the case of plants like jasmine, smell divine – but who knew that we had so many hedgerow plants you can eat?
Emma’s bubbly personality makes learning about wild food such fun whatever your age – and with her tips for safe wild food gathering and suggestions for recipes, you’ll never look at field and hedgerow plants in the same way again!
Some of her recent finds at Bosinver have included:
Elderflower: elderflower cordial is delicious and refreshing in the summer. Bottle it in plastic bottles to freeze – this way it lasts longer (and you can bring it out at Christmas!)
Honeysuckle: wine made from honeysuckle tastes like the essence of summer – remember only the flowers can be used as the fruits can make you ill.
Rose petals: pick scented roses and try making Turkish delight, rose petal jam or dry and crumble them to use as a Moroccan spice.
Cleavers: also known as ‘goose grass’ or ‘sticky willy’. In the summer the plants are covered in seed pods that hook on clothing or animal fur. Gather as many as you can and dry toast them in a pan and use as a coffee substitute.
Wood sorrel: like a large three-leaved clover, wood sorrel makes a great addition to salads, adding a fresh apple-skin tang.
One to take care with is hogweed as it may cause severe blistering when brushed against, but in spring the steamed new shoots are delicious as a vegetable.
Foraging walks at Bosinver
If this has whetted your appetite, and you fancy foraging in Cornwall then please do come along to one of Emma’s sessions. She’ll show you how to identify at least 10 edible plants, explain how to forage safely and give you some recipe ideas so you can eat what’s in season. Foraging walks run on Thursdays from 4.30pm (subject to demand and availability – please ask in reception for more details).
If you’d like to find out more about foraging, take a look at Emma’s Facebook page. She’s also written two books about foraging: Never Mind the Burdocks A Year of Foraging in the British Isles Vol 1 Spring Edition (March to May) and Vol 2 Winter edition (December to February), which are available via her website.
Are you ready to go wild this June?
Head over to the 30 Days Wild website to find out how to get involved, and follow #30DaysWild on Twitter for more inspiration for random acts of wildness.
Editor’s note: this post was first published in August 2013 and has been updated and revised.