Have you ever tried a Spring nettle soup or the subtle taste of wild garlic in a salad or omelette? Wild spring greens are in abundance at this time of year along with the first edible flowers that are starting to appear such as nettles, wild garlic, lady’s smock, violets, primroses, chickweed, rosebay willow herb shoots….. Whilst you’re out on your walk this week, or if you are lucky enough to have some of these edible plants growing in your garden, keep an eye out for these fresh wild edibles and take a basket/tub to collect a little, so long as they are growing abundantly, you only harvest a small amount and you are confident you have identified them correctly!
Food for thought – a quote from Miles Irving, in his ‘forager handbook’ – “foraging is in our blood…….Over millions of years of evolution, our bodies developed to require sustenance from an optimum diet consisting of a wide variety of plant materials plus wild meat, eggs, honey and fish/shellfish. This pre-agricultural diet provided superior nutrition. Studies of mean height of population show that people were 15cm taller before the onset of agriculture, around 10,000 years ago………….Hunter-
gatherers would use as many as 100 plant foods in the course of a year, modern humans generally use less than 20………Wild plants generally have higher nutrient contents, so a diet that includes many of them is superior to one with only a few cultivars”
Here are some links to websites that have inspired me to collect and cook with wild greens:
Miles Irving (2009) The foragers Handbook – A guide to the edible plants of Great Britain. Ebury Press.
Richard Mabey (1989) Food for free. Collins.
Safety Note: As with all wild plants, if you are not 100% sure what the plant is, don’t eat it! Also avoid busy roads and dog toilets!! If on private land, ensure you have landowners permission to collect plants.
Foraging for food