Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) is one of the first wild edible greens to emerge in Spring. I simply love it and munch my way through a fair few pounds when its around. Its such a versatile green. But hold your horses…
Contrary to what many foragers recommend, I do not advice that you eat this plant raw. The sap was used by beggars in the Middle Ages to create ‘fake’ sores in order to elicit extra charity. I think that bit of history tells you why eating lesser celandine raw may not be advisable.
Lesser celandine contains protoanemonin, an acrid blistering sap which increases as the plant flows into flower. Cooking destroys protoanemonin.
Warnings aside, this is one of my favourite plants, but these days I eat it only cooked.
This Lesser Celandine Recipe Serves: 5
Robin is a forager and self-taught ethnobotanist. He specialises in wild edible plants and has been running foraging courses throughout the UK since 2008. He travels extensively documenting and recording the traditional and local uses of wild food plants in indigenous cultures.