Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Today I tried two new wild food things: Dandelion root and Fat Hen flowers/seeds (I've often eaten the greens from both of these plants).
Dandelion root is something I'd been meaning to taste for ages. It's one of the few wild roots that can easily be acquired by foragers, as people are generally desperate to get rid of them from lawns and so on. Initially I found it quite pleasant, but it had a bitter aftertaste. Overall I was disappointed. I only ate a few, chopped up in a risotto with various other wild and home-grown bits and bobs.
Fat Hen seeds, on the other hand, are yummy! Again, I only tried a few because I was a little nervous (I read something somewhere about saponins, but most sources don't mention any hazards at all). As long as they are safe (!) I think they would be lovely in bread/baking. Fat Hen is from the same family as Quinoa, and apparently both seeds and greens have been eaten by humans (as well as hens) since ancient times. Any advice from the more experienced would be much appreciated...
I was planning to go into more detail about my dinner but I think I need further practice before I share tips. It was the first risotto I've ever made! *hangs head in shame*
Friday, 24 July 2009
This morning I went for a short bikeride (/walk) out towards Dinton Pastures. I took a notebook and made a list of all the wild (and wild-ish) food plants I noticed along the way. These were all either on jitties between houses in Lower Earley or on footpaths by the River Loddon, and are listed in order of discovery. Of course there must be loads more out there - these are just the ones I recognised as I passed them by (or ate them)...
Cherry plum (yellow, red)
Fat Hen / Orache
Vetch / Wild Pea
Monday, 20 July 2009
I had a good weeding session this morning - something I really should do more often. I brought back a few beetroot, including a random white one:
So far this year I've also harvested potatoes (1st and 2nd earlies), broad beans, french & runner beans (just starting), peas (grubby), courgettes, carrots, onions, garlic, shallots, soft fruit and herbs.
My peas always have grubs in. I think they're pea/bean weevils. I'm going to scrap them and try mange-tout next year (I really don't mind eating grubs as long as I can't see them!).
Last week my workmate and I collected *hundreds* of cherry plums. Far more than this tiny lunchbox could hold...
I don't really know what to do with them. I think they're a bit over-ripe for jam making. I've stashed them in the freezer until inspiration hits!
I did bake some tasty plum and apple pies though :)