foraging

foraging

In a journey towards less, there is more to contend with than removing things from your home.  You must also consider how and why you let things into your home, and indeed your life in general.

I have long been a supermarket avoider.  I am one of the founder members of The Durham Local Food Network, and have over the years made my own  butter, cheese, soap, shampoo, furniture polish, cleaning products, face creams as well as the more usual, preserves, breads, wines, fruit brandies etc.  All were a huge success with the possible exception of butter, which though it tasted delicious was really not worth the effort.  If I had to make all my own butter we would never bake again!

I have always loved foraging. I am not particularly knowledgeable, but have always been eager to learn. I have never poisoned anyone, but there have been some less than successful experiments.  Acorn coffee tasted rather good, but like the butter, was a faff to make.  Adding cleavers to salads enhanced it in my view, but not in that of the rest of the family.  Rowan jelly is delicious after two years, it is vile in year one.

Imagine my delight to discover that the Boss and I were going on a two day coastal foraging course with Rose and Chris Bax and Caco from Taste the Wild.   We went out mushrooming with them in October last year and it was such a fantastic day that when I opened the voucher on Christmas morning I was devastated to realise that I had to wait until August.  It was well worth the wait.

I have pondered whether to give you a blow by blow account in one post or not.    Fearful that some of you might not be able to contain your excitement and could suffer an unexpected early onset life threatening condition through sheer joy I shall sprinkle the reports over the next few weeks.

However, as a small taste of what is to come.

This is me fishing for whiting and cod on “All My Sons” with Sean.  Day one was not a great success for me (though great for the others).  I caught up well enough on day two. On the first evening  I was also suffering from a touch of sea sickness and spent the latter part of the journey, whilst they were emptying the lobster pots, with my eyes firmly fixed on the horizon…

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This is supper on day two… in addition to which we also had two HUGE lobsters, a guarnard, winkles, limpets and some shore crabs.  Anybody recognise anything?!  With the exception of the bread, the salad and salsa verde we caught or foraged all of it.

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I would hazard a guess that depending on where you live, at least half of the “weeds” you are trying to eradicate from your garden you could eat one way or another.

  • chickweed
  • rosebay willow herb
  • fat hen
  • hogweed
  • grape plantain
  • Everlasting sweet pea (NOT the annuals)
  • Ground Ivy

And that doesn’t even begin to include all the things that probably don’t grow in your garden …..