It was a gorgeous day today, so after doing some errands in town, I decided to come home the long way along Lough Atalia [Galway city] and through the wild meadow beside it. The sun was shining, there was a brisk breeze and the air seemed alive with sound.
I recommend always being prepared, if you think there is any possibility you might end up foraging. Gloves and a heavy duty scissors are handy as are the below.
YOU WILL NEED
A park, backyard or wilderness area near you
A basket & some bags, such as the handy totes I made earlier in the year
A foraging guide
A Hawk’s eye
A taste for adventure
Never eat any wild plant unless you are 100% sure that you have identified an edible species.
Always cross-reference the information you find on the internet with an expert, a foraging group, or several reference books.
Make sure you are harvesting from non-polluted sources, away from roads, and where no pesticides or other contaminants may have been used.
Within a 15 minute walk from the city, I was beside the water, up to my hips in grasses and I could feel my breathing slow down and the usual stresses leaving me.
Going foraging is like going on a mini-adventure, you don’t know who you will meet and what you will find. It’s one of the most satisfying experiences you can ever have.
The pleasure of being outside, that sense of exploration, one’s senses being open and focused…there is nothing like that.
One little guy you might come across is the field mouse, they are shy gentle creatures, so best to just leave them be.
A large thrush followed me around for a while, when I was picking blackberries, no doubt hoping I would drop some. Thrushes love berries of all sorts.
If you are out early enough in the morning and/or near the countryside, you might catch a glimpse of the Irish Hare, a beautiful and sacred creature.
One of my favourite creatures is the endangered and very rare Dormouse. If you come across one, leave it be, unless its in a dangerous place or if you see a predator nearby. In that case, very carefully lift up the little guy and move him to a safe place.
I was delighted to find a large Rowan tree with goblets of fruit hanging down and have since washed and frozen them and plan to make Rowan flour, once I have more berries.
Although its only the end of August, there are already Hawthorn berries on the trees, so I gathered a full bag of these. I will be making them into a tincture and possibly a wine.
I found a fantastic patch of wild blackberries in a sunny semi-sheltered part of the meadow bursting with goodness and black sweetness.
Although I suffered some scrapes and thorns along the way, I collected three pounds of fruit, which I intend to make into wine and other tasty delights for the winter. For now, I washed, sorted and froze them.
I also found some plantain, rose petals and dandelion leaves.
One of the best parts of foraging is when you get home and then can make delicious foods and drinks with the bounty of your endeavors!
I find that when I am eating or drinking something I foraged, I don’t just enjoy the taste, or the knowledge that its packed full of nutrients, that it was free or just something unusual, but also the memory of the happy hours spent foraging across woods and dales…
Below are two recipes for you to enjoy 🙂
Wild Green’s Quiche
- Pastry dough for a 9-inch pan
- ½ cup chopped edible greens (dandelion, wood sorrel, very young nettles, bittercress, wild watercress or whatever is available)
- 1 cup of Mushrooms, sliced very thin
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- ⅓ cup minced onion
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups whipping cream
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp sugar
Heat oven to 250c.
Blanch the greens for 30 seconds, then plunge into ice water and wring out in a dry dishtowel. Sprinkle cheese, blanched greens, mushrooms and onion into a pastry-lined pie pan. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs slightly, then beat in whipping cream, salt and sugar.
Pour egg mixture into pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 250c, then reduce heat to 150c and bake an additional 30 minutes.
You can garnish cakes and tarts with edible wild flowers such as roses, violas and borage for a stunning desert to serve after dinner.
• Blackberry – infused vodka
• Wild mint
• Apple juice
• Tonic Water
• Ice cubes
- Infuse quality vodka with Blackberries.
- Pour a measure into a glass filled with ice.
- Top with apple juice and tonic Water.
- Add Viola flowers and wild mint to enhance the flavour.
I will be foraging at the Beach, deep in the countryside and in the woods, so will let you know how that goes 🙂
I will also be talking about making various recipes from lavender flowers and how to harvest and store herbs for the winter.