There are over 20,000 species of plants that have been recorded as edible, yet in our current society you'll be lucky to find more than 25 of them in your local supermarket!
Edible weeds are a great addition to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. They are local, sustainable, and free so they help cut your food bill. Edible wild plants contain no packaging & no chemicals.
We value your privacy and will never sell, trade or exchange your details with anyone... Period!
This weekend I wanted to make a coffee substitute, something that tasted ‘rich’. Something that I could ‘chew’ on.
My shop bought coffee-alternatives include the likes of Whole Earth Nocaf, Barleycup etc.
And when it comes to finding tasty “coffee” substitutes from the wild, I have always struggled with the more common substitutes such as dandelion or chicory.
Don’t get me wrong I really like them, but coffee isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when I sip on them.
No, I wanted something that actually had the deep rich smell of coffee, and that could, at a push, be a coffee analog.
Was there such a thing out there, beyond the human world, hiding in plain sight at this time of year? Some plant jiggling around trying to get me to notice it?
This year my attention has been caught by a prickly shrub called Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus). It’s ‘leaves’, actually they aren’t leaves but I don’t want to get all botanical on you, are tough and thick and tipped with a vicious spine.
Take an eye-glass or botanical loupe and have a look at its flowers. Talk about beauty hiding in what likely appears to most people as a drab, plain plant.
Chances are you have walked past Butcher’s Broom many times.
The bright red berries possibly attracting you, while your brain over rides any desire to stop and pay attention as it screams “Poisonous Plant”.
Butcher’s Broom is part of the Asparagus family (Asparagaceae), and the berries are indeed poisonous. If eaten they cause digestive problems and a condition known as hemolysis; the rupturing or destruction of red blood cells.
Yet within the fruit are two seeds. In Tunisia these seeds are first boiled, roasted, then ground and used as a coffee substitute.
It was this fact that intrigued me. And so I went and gathered a few of the berries to see if I could replicate what they do in Tunisia. Read more…
There is an old Scottish proverb “Mony haws, Mony snows” meaning that an abundance of haws (hawthorn berries) will bring a severe winter.
It will be interesting to see if this old folk belief pans out this year. I have a suspicion it will.
While on a train to London back in late October, I remember noticing how red the hedgerows looked as we sped along, and the impression they made on me.
The redness came from the Hawthorn trees heavily laden with early Autumn fruits. In some areas, the hedgerows where more red than green!
This year I have been particularly captivated by Hawthorn. I’m putting it down to my visit to Ireland earlier in the year, where I sat in Hawthorn glades, under trees that some locals believed dated back 2000 years.
I’m not too sure that time frame is correct, but I do know that some Hawthorn trees can certainly live to be at least 700 years old.
And so Hawthorn caught my attention.
How was I going to work with this delightful, beautiful and mysterious tree? Read more…
This Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) jelly recipe is quite simply divine. The plant is deciduous, and usually found in hedgerows, scrub and woodlands. It favours damp places and can be found along streams, but it also has the ability to thrive in quite dry spaces too.
Tasting the raw berries (which are mildly toxic if consumed in too great a quantity) will most likely result in much spitting, and verbal exclamations, as it is very bitter… but the bitterness goes when it is prepared into a jelly.
I joke that Guelder rose jelly makes the kitchen stink of old socks during preparation, but that rather off putting image is completely negated once you slather it all over some lovely hot buttered toast, or use it with game and other cooked meats.
So give this Guelder rose jelly recipe a try… I really don’t think you will be disappointed! Read more…
With Autumn definitely on its way, and the sun starts setting early, now is the perfect time to give you body a boost with this delicious, nourishing and health-boosting elixir.
I’ve been making it for quite a few weeks using dried elderberries from last year, and dried nettle that I had gathered this Spring. I have to say that I can’t keep my hand out the fridge with this one. With no sugar and only the scrummy, warming flavour of organic honey to sweeten it, even the most risk-averse inner child (or outer one for that matter) will love it! Read more…
Each year I literally swoon as I cup the cherry blossom flowers in my hand gazing at their mysterious beauty set against cloudless blue sky. And each year I promise myself to make a preserved cherry blossom recipe. Each year until this one I miss the window of opportunity.
In Japan, the tradition of “Hanami” which literally translates as “flower viewing” is a practice that dates back to the sixth century Heian period. Cherry blossoms in Japan are called “Sakura”, and are a symbol of the transient nature of life, due to their short flowering time. They represent a life that is beautiful, but also temporary and impermanent.
So as not to miss the year’s flowering season I scoured my patches trying to find some flowers that were still only in bud. For the preserved cherry blossom recipe you need to gather buds that are just starting to open, you can, should you to wish pick some of the fully opened flowers, but best to try and get just the buds. You’ll also need to gather a few of the very young leaves as they are just developing. Read more…