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Owen's wild food adventures

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  • Owen's wild food adventures

    I've been eating wild food since this spring. Am in the UK.

    The one thing I would say about wild food (aside form be careful and do your research) is that the nutritional content is so high, it really does have an effect on you - worth a try. Here are the ones I've tried so far (there are of course far more)

    Spring leaves and shoots:
    Dandelion (all parts of it, best in april+may, becomes more bitter afterwards), Jack-by-the-hedge (also called Garlic Mustard) Ramson (also called wild garlic), Goosegrass (or Bed-Straw) Nettle, Dead Nettle, Chickweed, Thistle, Blackberry Leaves (mainly for making tea)
    Plantain (not of my faves but edible), Wood sorrel, lemon sorrel (both of these are hard to spot and usually grow as single leaves). Wild parsley (one of the most pleasant to eat raw - has a very thick, sweet, watery stem - delicious)

    Others for mid summer:
    Blackberries (coming in season in about two weeks), Wild cherries (the black or red ones, just collected loads today - absolutely delicious), Fern tips (or fiddleheads - the brown tips of the ferns are slightly crunchy and taste like almond, can be fried in coconut oil to give the best salad croutons you'll ever taste). Flowers from the juniper bush:small yellow, taste like coconut and can be added to salads.

    I've also eaten a member of the carrot family called sweet cicely, tunrs out I was lucky because this family contains hemlock and fool's parsley both of which are poisionous, and look like sweet cicely, so its best to avoid this family until you know for sure which is which.
    Healthy is the new wealthy.

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

  • #2
    The wild cherries I collected today:

    Cherries.jpg
    Healthy is the new wealthy.

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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    • #3
      Recently discovered the joys of:

      Wild boar: This is now available in a food centre not too far form me, I put it in a stew and it is superb, I will definitely be getting more. There's something about it that is better than farm pork - it seems more lean and yet more satisfying to eat. I couldn't stop eating it.

      Wild tuna and salmon: Frozen products such a tuna steak and salmon fished from the sea - essentially wild food, and with much better taste and texture than farmed fish. I buy the ones that are certified sustainable.

      Fresh mackerel: One of the cheaper fish, but mackerel is believed to be the most nutritious food, pound for pound, in the world. It certainly tastes like it is. I would only rate possibly organ meat as being more nutritious and even then it doesn't have the omega 3 in such high quanitiy, as far as I know. Best just cooked in the oven on the bone. Although quite strong tasting, you can make a stock from the fish head and bones, but better to do this once the fish has already been cooked in the oven.

      Sea Trout: I bought a Sea Trout, quite a large fish, from the market, and have been developing my filleting skills. Its quite easy to clean a fish out by removing the head and innards all together in one go. I heard about eating fish liver, so I tried frying the liver up, and managed to eat about half of it - tasted ok but quite a soft texture that I found I could only eat a small amount of it. With large trouts that you don't want to cook all in one go, its best to fillet the fish so you end up with two large fillets. Cutting trout accross the body into steaks doesn't work as well as it does with salmon because the flesh is looser. I made a stock form the head of the fish but I used the head raw, i.e before it was cooked in the oven and the result was a stock that was very strong 'sea-tasting' that I didn't really like. I think fish stock is generally best made from already-cooked head and bones.
      Last edited by Owen; 08-11-2013, 05:16 AM.
      Healthy is the new wealthy.

      http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Owen View Post
        The wild cherries I collected today:

        [ATTACH]12421[/ATTACH]
        They look more like currants not cherries.




        From London England UK

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        • #5
          on the left are cherries

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          • #6
            Left are red cherries, right are black cherries. The trees were growing next to eachother. The black cherries are particularly rich and have a very deep red pigment that gets everywhere - but very nutritious. In season now. I'm going back there tomorrow as apparently they are now going to be sweeter.

            You can also get wild currants which do indeed look similar but are about half the size of these cherries.
            Healthy is the new wealthy.

            http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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            • #7
              Goosegrass and nettles, which often grow together, can be boiled in water to make a kind of tea - I then either drink this or use it in soups and stews to enhance the taste, colour, and the nutritional content of the food. I recently made a stew with the wild boar I bought, and used the nettle+goosegrass water as the base for the stew.

              Goosegrass
              goosegrass.jpg
              Healthy is the new wealthy.

              http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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              • #8
                Bit late in the year but fireweed is edible, you want the baby shoots as it gets bitter as it matures. Use like asparagus
                Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

                http://primaldog.blogspot.co.uk/

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                • #9
                  We've been collecting wild plums. I made some into plum sauce and some I just pureed and canned. I have Italian plums drying now (prunes) that I collected in an abandoned lot. I've also been gathering blackberries and freezing them.

                  I just love collecting wild foods. In the fall we gather walnuts and sometimes acorns, though they are a lot more work to process and of course there's our favorite, mushrooms!
                  Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

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                  • #10
                    I've just googled fireweed and realised that I drove past acres of it in Wales - when you say use it like asparagus do you mean eat the stem?
                    Healthy is the new wealthy.

                    http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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                    • #11
                      Have you tried making fruit leather with plums, if you have lots ? I did that with those cherries - turned out well.
                      Healthy is the new wealthy.

                      http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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                      • #12
                        I love this thread Owen
                        I went to a nature reserve near where I live this week, and there were quite a few of the black cherry trees, absolutely full of fruit. I had not thought of foraging before, I am new to this way of eating.
                        I will certainly keep a look out for 'free' food in the future,

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                        • #13
                          It adds a very interesting element to any hike or walk in natural areas. Have you been to Ludlow Daisy? There's a really good food centre there, just outside the town centre, that sells a lot of very good meats, its where I got the wild boar from. Free is clearly best but I'm also looking for it on sale a lot as well. Good luck with the cherries! Hoping to post a bit about fruit leather shortly.
                          Healthy is the new wealthy.

                          http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Owen View Post
                            I've just googled fireweed and realised that I drove past acres of it in Wales - when you say use it like asparagus do you mean eat the stem?
                            The whole plant above the ground. You wanna pick the baby shoots to use, like when its 3-4 inches tall (& usually very pinkish coloured)
                            Its still edible when it gets bigger but starts getting bitter the older the plant is.
                            Fireweed (Epilobium spp.)
                            Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

                            http://primaldog.blogspot.co.uk/

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                            • #15
                              Hi thanks for the fireweed tip. Seriously, you should see how much of that is growing in Wales. Has to be one of the commonest plants there.

                              OK a bit more on Blackberries - extremely common in UK hedgerows and right now, extremely delicious. I don't know of a better tasting fruit. Last night whilst on a bike ride I chanced upon various blackberry bushes, some of which were bearing ripe fruit. I don't bother collecting them I just eat them right off the bush - the best way IMO. To test to see if the berry is ripe, all you need to do is squeeze it slightly between thumb and forefinger, if there's any give in it, it will probably be sweet and juicy. Also the riper ones will come off the stalk with just the slightest of pulls, if there's any resistance, it's not ripe. Right now you will see bushes covered in a mixture of red and black berries - you will quickly see that the red ones are still unripe - no bother - just give it a few days and come back for more :-)

                              The dark ones are ripe:
                              blackberries.jpg

                              Close-up the blackberry reveals itself to be a cluster of tiny berries, each with a tiny edible stone, or pip, inside. The beauty and tastiness of nature :-)

                              blackberry.jpg

                              At any point of the year you can pick a few leaves off a blackberry bush and use them to make tea, although it usually needs sweetening with a drop of honey. I've found that mixing blackberry leaves and normal tea is also particularly good. You can also earth-up any stew or even salad by finely chopping the leaves up and using them like parsley - they're perfectly edible although a bit stringy, I do this more for the nutrients, as they don't taste particularly of anything. Best to remove the central stalk that goes through leaf as this sometimes has little spines on it.

                              After stuffing my face with blackberries last night, I then chanced upon an apple tree growing in another hedgerow and took a few home with me also. Don't know what species of apple (EDIT: they are crab apples - I've now begun using them to make an awesome apple preserve, they can be a bit too sour just for general eating - use them like cooking apples)

                              wild apples.jpg

                              It was purely by luck that I noticed it.
                              Last edited by Owen; 09-07-2013, 12:55 PM.
                              Healthy is the new wealthy.

                              http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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