- Food and Cooking
Learn How to Forage for Herbs Fruits Mushrooms and Salads in the Wild
Choosing Your Own Wild Food Saves Money and Top Organic Foods Taste Delicious Too!
In these days of growing consumerism combined with the ever-spiralling costs of food finding an alternative way to supplement your daily foods makes increasing sense. Choosing the top wild foods in England helps provide delicious tasty recipes good for all the family. These edible top organic foods can help boost nutrition as well as supplying additional vitamins. And of course the best part of foraging for natural foods includes the fact that there’re free!
An ideal way of preserving your chosen wild foods includes pickling, preserving, and freeze-drying. This helps you store your natural foods for longer periods. This preservation helps store abundant crops for later. In addition these organic foods fresh form the wilderness of England can turn into delicious wines, cake, soups, teas, and even hair products.
The top 10 wild foods will give you plenty of opportunity to engage in the wonderful English nature and countryside, while foraging for natural foods and edible species remains a delightful way of spending time during the changing seasons.
Wild foods of England
Blackberry for Jam, Wine, and Crumble
The simply English blackberry makes its home in the bramble hedges throughout the end of autumn. These delicious fruits often appear in massive clumps making harvesting a really easy process. The fruits remain ripe for a relatively short period, yet overripe blackberries can still serve as a jam, blackberry crumble or even for the brewing of blackberry wine.
A key to preserving these fruits includes sterilising your containers as well as adding the required amount of sugar. Seal in airtight containers over the winter months for a deliciously tasty jam for breakfast. Blackberry wine takes advantage of the overripe fruit. Just add a little pectin to ensure clarity. The wine tastes of a distinctive blackberry fragrance while remaining a wonderful deep red in colour. A sweet wine is produced with a lower sugar amount. For a little extra kick you can always fortify your blackberry wine by adding a touch of vodka.
The Cep Mushroom Penny Bun or Porcini
The Cep mushroom remains a choice mushroom of sublime flavour. Often referred to as the Penny Bun, or its continental name of Porcini, this mushroom dwells in the wild woods and footpaths of English forests. Often found near oak trees the Cep mushroom remains easily recognisable in England. The mushroom looks rather like a small loaf of bread with a slightly yeasty smell. However the true flavour emerges once the mushroom is dried. The flavour increase dramatically when dried. To preserve this precious mushroom simply slice and hang on string in a cool dark place. To re-hydrate your mushroom just add boiling water or add it dried to soups or stocks. The price of this mushroom in shops is extremely high so finding a natural supply will give you a culinary boost as well as saving your money!
The Wild Field Mushoom for Soups!
These delightful autumnal mushrooms remain firm favourites giving a delicious taste to any dish. The field mushrooms have distinctive darkened gills producing a brown/black spore print. In addition the top mushroom skin remains easy to peel. Unlike the Fly Agaric some confusion can arise from identification, so you should always ensure your picking the right species. For cooking wild field mushrooms just lightly fry in butter and add vegetable stock for a scrumptious soup full of flavour. Alternatively we used to eat these as children just by dipping fresh bread in the fried mushroom juices! Also opt to pick younger versions as older mushroom remain prone to bug infestation. In fact the ideal time to hunt or forage for mushrooms remains the first light of morning, so beating the bugs to the top tasting mushrooms.
Hazelnut the Natural Nut for Porridge and Biscuits
These sumptuous hazelnuts, prolific throughout England, remain a great source of protein giving a well needed energy boost to those lucky enough to collect a good supply. Hazelnuts grind down to a perfect consistency for adding to porridge, or cooking into delicious hazelnut biscuits. Grinding into a powder also helps reserve the hazelnut, although if kept in their original shell the hazelnut has a great shelf-life. To check if a hazelnut’s ripe observe the colour of the nut. If it’s slightly browned then it’s ripe. If green take note of is location and come back in a few weeks, if you’re lucky no one else will have beaten you to it!
Burdock Uses in Tea, Salads, and as A Skin Treament Medicine
The Burdock root makes an ideal tea supposed able to help relieve liver conditions. In addition extract from the root is used to treat eczema and psoriasis conditions. To make burdock tea simply collect the burdock leaves then shred accordingly. Infuse in boiling water to produce an organic health tea helping to stem the onset of Gout amongst other ailments. The root can also be used for treating skin conditions. Both the leaves and flowers can easily be steamed or dries naturally for use later on. Even if used as an external wash the burdock serves as an excellent health addition to your common medicine cabinet. With any plants ensure you’re absolutely certain you're picking burdock.
Watercress Soup Or Serve With Egg Salad
Often found near small brooks and streams in England this delicious iron rich vegetable serves as the perfect accompaniment for any green leaf salad. In addition wild watercress makes a delightful soup full of strong flavours and taste. It also goes well with scrambled egg sandwiches combined with a rich mayonnaise sauce. You can make watercress soup by chopping your watercress, then lightly sautéing in a little olive oil. Then add onion and celery as additional flavours. Spoon a little fresh cream in after your soup’s boiled. Always pick your watercress near fresh streams devoid of human interference or pollution.
The Stinging Nettle for Salads, Tea and a Hairwash!
Considered by many as a weed the nettle in fact holds many delights. Once used by Romans in ancient Britain to warm themselves against the cold, the nettles folic rich leaves serve many purposes from salads, to tea, to a hair product. For salads simply blanch the leaves in hot water to break the stinging spikes and add to any green leaf salad. In addition nettle tea’s made from simply adding hot water for a fragrant and incredibly healthy tea rich in Vitamins A, C, E, K, B2, and B5, as well Iron, Carotene, Calcium, Chlorophyll, Potassium, and Sulphur. The nettle holds more Iron than spinach making it a healthy choice as a wild food. To make an organic hair wash from the stinging nettle simply boil the leaves to allow the folic acid to break away from the main nettle leaf. Then once cooled wash your hair with this folic rich liquid to add both strength and an incredible shine to your hair.
The Rosehip High in Vitamins for Tea or as an Organic Jam
Surprisingly the rosehip has amazing amounts of Vitamin A,D,C, and E as well as natural antioxidants within the soft husks. Collect these when in season and allow drying to occur naturally. You can then brew the rosehip as a nutritional drink in its own right, or add to loose leaf tea for a boost to your Vitamin C levels. Foraging these wild food types helps pass time in nature in addition the fact rosehips grow in groups makes picking a large number possible in one hunt. Once dried, the rosehip will last until next season in a suitable airtight container. To make a jam from the wild rosehip simply add sugar to boiling water and add the blended rosehips to the mix. Once cooled strain through muslin into small sterilised jars.
Wild Garlic for Soups and Organic Pesto
Find this highly fragrant herb growing in damp woodland near rivers and away from natural sunlight. The pungent aroma will make wild garlic easy to locate. The leaves remain the only part of this plant that remains feasible to use as the bulb’s basically non-existent. Wash the leaves thoroughly at least three times. The wild garlic leaves make excellent use in a natural organic pesto by combining olive oil, cheddar cheese, and a few walnuts then blitzing. A simple wild garlic soup consists of sautéing a few onions well chopped, and a celery stick well chopped too. Add your chopped wild garlic leaves with a little vegetable stock. Once finished add cream and blend well.Alternatively you can use this fragrant natural herb in an omelette to create a truly delicious fragrant egg dish.Just add the chopped leaves as you begin to turn your omelette over. Or you can always spread a little wild garlic pesto inside your omelette, the melting cheese combined with the olive oil and wild garlic will amaze your friends and family alike as the aromas dazzle their senses.
Brewing Elderberry Wine and Making Elderberry Jam
The common fruit known as Elderberry’s often misunderstood in England. Perhaps the bitter taste distracts from the appeal of this wild organic fruit. However simple processes can turn this traditional English fruit into many culinary and beverage uses. The most common use includes making elderberry wine. Select fruits that have become slightly overripe as these fruits will yield the most juice. It’s suggested to collect around 4kg in order to make 5ltrs of wine. Then add sugar, yeast and pectin and allow brewing to begin. This wine has a very dry taste s you can always sweeten towards the end of the bottling process by adding a sugar solution. In addition the elderberry fruit also makes an excellent jam by adding sugar and pectin. Making jam allows for this fruit to stay rich on flavour over the cold winter months.
A Word of Caution About Wild Foods in England
When picking any wild foods always ensure there the right ones you need. If in any doubt about the authenticity of the herb, wild plant, or organic mushrooms leave them well alone. When making jams and preserving your wild organic fruit types for eating ensure you use sterilised jars to avoid contamination.
Would You Consider Eating Wild Foods as Part of a Mixed Diet?
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