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Thread: Free food in the UK. page

  1. #1
    Kochin's Avatar
    Kochin is offline Senior Member
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    Free food in the UK.

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    How to find and make use of British wild flora.

    Why? Gram for gram, leafy greens and berries are EXPENSIVE. They're also drowned in pesticides.

    Yet we have an amazing array of beautiful greens and fruits available. If you live in the city you'll need to soak and prep them well to cleanse off the smog and grime from the city air (though I'd recommend doing this with ANYTHING, even store-bought stuff has sat in city-air long enough to get a bit nasty), if you live in the country a rinse and a cursory insect-check will do.

    I'll start with better-known vegetation and post a recipe every time I come up with one. Dandelions are first, as our garden's full.

    DANDELIONS.

    What are they?
    Leafy greens and bright yellow flowers.

    Where to find them?
    EVERYWHERE.
    Gardens, walls, fields, cracks in the pavement...
    Heck, offer to "weed" a neighbour's garden for free. You'll get a ton of dandelions and maybe some chickweed and nettles and stuff too. Free salad!

    How to identify them?
    The easiest way is through their distinctive flowers.
    Macro_dandelion_Fcb981.jpg
    But flowerless dandelions aren't hard to identify either. Look out for a flat-ish bush without much, if any, of a stem. The leaves should be rounded on top and have dents down both sides. Sometimes the side of the leaf looks wavy, othertimes quite jagged. All dandelions and all edible.
    dandelion.JPG

    Advice?
    Pick only fresh and green leaves. There WILL be some damage, but an entirely yellow plant is to be avoided. Tear off any yellowed or eaten parts when preparing.
    Avoid thick stems if you aren't keen on the bitterness.

    How to eat?
    Raw or cooked. Both are fine. Just make sure to clean them well!

    Recipes coming up over the next few days.
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  2. #2
    DinoHunter's Avatar
    DinoHunter is offline Senior Member
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    Yeah! some of its starting to come up now to. I saw some wee nettles poking up this morning (unfortunately right were all the dogs stop for a piss so not coming home with me )

    Also fireweed shoots will be available soon, just pick the baby shoots (older is edible to but taste bitter) and fry in butter/salt/pepper etc.
    Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

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    breadsauce's Avatar
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    Already had wild nettle soup this year, and I shall be picking wild garlic (ramsons) very soon for either a soup or a lovely, garlicky chicken dish.

  4. #4
    NorthernMonkeyGirl's Avatar
    NorthernMonkeyGirl is offline Senior Member
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    Goosegrass and chickweed are coming up now too - good greens to fry up as a side dish.

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    breadsauce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernMonkeyGirl View Post
    Goosegrass and chickweed are coming up now too - good greens to fry up as a side dish.
    Goosegrass? I'd never thought of that! Is it pleasant to eat? I've tried ground elder and didn't like that at all!

  6. #6
    CavemanJoe's Avatar
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    Going out and foraging for food is great fun, and free obviously, but I'll never understand why most just don't grow their own greens. It's pretty cheap, a bag of seeds costs about 2 and compost only a 5 plus it's a piece of piss to grow and you have practically an endless supply of greens.

  7. #7
    DinoHunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CavemanJoe View Post
    Going out and foraging for food is great fun, and free obviously, but I'll never understand why most just don't grow their own greens. It's pretty cheap, a bag of seeds costs about 2 and compost only a 5 plus it's a piece of piss to grow and you have practically an endless supply of greens.
    Because I have the black thumb of death when it comes to gardening......
    Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

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  8. #8
    pjgh's Avatar
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    Wild garlic is all the rage at the moment ... lovely pickings while it's in its younger stages.

    I did read that folks in parts of North America are not permitted to pick the vegetation, but we're okay with it here in Britain.

  9. #9
    Nigel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjgh View Post
    I did read that folks in parts of North America are not permitted to pick the vegetation, but we're okay with it here in Britain.
    I gather it's unlawful to take whole plants with roots though. Mind you, I'm not sure anybody would complain too much if you dug up some horseradish, it'll just be the more rare plants I suspect.
    Why use a sledge hammer to crack a nut when a steam roller is even more effective, and, is fun to drive.

  10. #10
    MikeAtTaree's Avatar
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    Growing up in the North East of England, elderberry bushes were everywhere, especially along walking tracks, abandoned railways and around allotment garden areas. Dad and I used to collect a couple of plastic rubbish bins full of the ripe fruit and he would make elderberry wine - turned out like cheap port wine and I snuck a few now and again to take to teen parties.

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