Foraged food

Here is the place you can find all manner of foraged fayre. As we go through the seasons, foragers have to shift focus. No popping down the hedgerow for hawthorn berries in March! This unwavering seasonality makes foraged food some of the best food you can find, prepare and serve.

For a taster, here are some of the things I have been making…If you would liek to taste some of these and a lot more, then book on to one of my upcoming foraging walks and courses.

Violet and mugwort infused vinegar:
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This is  is a really easy thing to make, because all I have done is infused violet flowers and some sprigs of new growth mugwort into a white wine vinegar, then sweetened a little. The amount of violet floewrs is up to you…I picked a couple hundred or so flowers, bu the more you add the deeper the colour, and the stronger the ‘love heart sweet’ flavour.

Violets are bang in season in March, often found carpeting the woodland floor and other shady spots.violet

They are an evergreen plant and you will find their heart shaped leaves, overwintering when many plants are dormant. Even if the weather is cold and checking the growth of other plants, Violets will be found flowering away right on cue

So to make the vinegar, simply steep the plant material in the vinegar for 48 hrs or so, giving it a shake and stir every once in a while, and Voila, or is that Viola! Then simply strain, and sweeten to taste.

Alexanders and rhubarb Jam:

Agreat early season jam, and easily made, and if you have a fridge and dont intend it to hang around for long, it doesnt require pectin.IMG_7616

Simply harvest some pre-flowering stems of alexanders, well before the flower buds are opening… if its in flower like this you are well to late!IMG_4366

I use approx 1kg each of rhubarb and alexanders. Take the rhubarb and cover with brown sugar overnight to draw out the juices. Then cook it with half of the chopped alexanders stems and 700 grams (ish) of sugar.

Part cook the other half of alexanders, so they are ‘al dente’ and add to the reducing pot a couple of minutes before the end.  This ensures that a) the first half of alexanders adds their fragrance to the jam, and b) the other half don’t break down and offer some texture to the finished product.

The finished jam should still be a little fluid, but not runny. If not, then reduce it down a little longer until you get your required consistency. Pour into sterilised jars. Simples! As said, this is a fridge jam due to the reduced sugar. But mine doesn’t ever hang around long enought to spoil! You can taste these creations and more on my foraging walks and courses.

Japanese knotweed and beetroot relish.IMG_7666

This deliughtful and easy to make condiment was recently published here with ingredients and method…

Hawthorn ketchup

I love this simple and sensational sauce. A plant I have so much respect for, as one of the herbal remedies for the heart, this hawthorn sauce surpassed all expectations when I first made it a few years ago. I adapted a recipe from ‘Pam the Jam’, out of one of the River Cottage books my friend has.

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For something so simple as a hedgerow fruit cooked in vinegar, plus a little water, with some herbs and spices (always assafeotida and a specific couple others for the full majesty) and then simply strained through a sieve or muslin, before blending with muscavado sugar, molasses and seasoning… this subtly sour and sweet, rich, fruity and fullsome haw concentrate will power up the taste and enjoyment factor on pretty much any food it comes into contact with!

The full recipe and method will be added, probably in the autumn! More information can be found on hawthorn in my foragers monograph.