• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Pam Brunning

Spring has arrived in the UK - what are we foraging?

32 posts in this topic

Decided to try ground elder soup this year as we have a lot in our wild garden. For those interested it is also called ‘gout weed’ - so if you enjoy a drink and suffer, this is the stuff for you!

I made a light vegetable stock - boiled a potato in it - to give a bit of thickening and just wilted a bunch of well washed leaves in the stock then liquidised and sieved it. It was a very subtle flavour - I think I will use a few more leaves next time but it was very enjoyable. No need to worry about getting gout in the spring now! :wink:

101_0147.JPG

101_0150.JPG


Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

My link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pam, that looks gorgeous.


Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Pam - Elder isn't in my repertoire but I shall look out for it.

We have been getting lots of nettles and wild garlic. Most go into 'green juices', but the garlic has also gone into salads and both have been made into relatively successful soups.

I have recently discovered wood sorrel, which has bowled me over. A tiny little plant, but one that packs a big taste - a wonderful sour grape flavour which is good in salads.

Also dandelion leaves are coming up in my neck of the woods now and are also a good addition to salads.

We love foraging in our house and find that if we take the kids they will try anything we've picked. We do have to be careful with our 2 year old though. After taking her mushroom picking a few times last year we found she would then just go up to any muchroom and pick it, which can be dangerous!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is not the leaves of the elder tree - it is Aegopodium podagraria - ground elder - also known as Goutweed because it was considered a good cure for gout by the Romans.

I am using wild garlic at the moment - I slice it very thinly and wilt it in butter then crush it with some new potatoes. I use nettles for soup.

My daughter is in the herb business supplying a lot of London hotels/restaurants and she is always getting asked for wood sorrel. We have lots in our woods but she refuses to go picking because it is so labour intensive. I have never tasted it, I must make an effort this weekend and get some for a salad.

101_0257.JPG


Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

My link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm making the most of the Wild Garlic in the New Forest. I just can't get enough of it right now. Gorgeous. I must say, i do fancy dabling with some Elder. Looks interesting.


@lostinthelarder

Lost in the Larder - the life and times of an inquisitive appetite

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... i do fancy dabling with some Elder. Looks interesting.

The Elder season hasn't started yet. Elderflowers are still a few weeks away. The berries months away.

Ground Elder is nothing like the Elder tree.

Internet foraging is a recipe for confusion!

There are masses of Alexanders shooting up now.

There are lots of poisonous things (including Hemlock) that they could be confused with. Take care!

Unfortunately, though I am confident I can distinguish them, I don't really like the strange perfumed flavour of the raw leaves. A little goes a very long way!

Roll on the elderflowers!


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ground elder is no relation to the elder tree. It is an herbaceous plant not a tree. The reason it is called ground elder is because the flower, which blooms later in the summer, is similar to the flower of the elder tree.

I tried using it like spinach last night and just wilting it in butter but it was very tough so I had to liquidise it with cream and use it as a puree. :huh:


Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

My link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ground elder is no relation to the elder tree. It is an herbaceous plant not a tree. ...

Which was precisely the distinction that I was pointing up to nbaines who fancied "dabbling with some Elder".

I'm looking forward to the elderflower season. My favourite forage.

For elderflower 'champagne' there are two important caveats.

- don't follow HFW's tv recipe. (Too much sugar, leading to too much gas.)

- don't use glass bottles. Especially not the flimsy Ikea flip-tops as employed by HFW on tv. They explode. Glass shards are sharp. Flying shards of sharp glass add nothing to my happiness. Big plastic ("PET") lemonade bottles are much better - and massively safer. But Waitrose 1 litre Tonic Water bottles are my favourite. Plastic, strong enough, reasonable size - and they don't fall over as they fully pressurise - the snag with the PET bottles is that the base can distend, and so the bottle won't stand up. The drinker's ability to stand up is a different matter!


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Elderflower champagne is great stuff - our kids used to love it. Watch those plastic bottles though. They can be lethal - we were opening one once, it was very blown and as the top came off it flew out of my husbands hands and flew across the pond with flames coming out of the back! It was just lucky it went in the right direction - away from everyone on the patio :shock:


Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

My link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What does Ground Elder taste like - is it good?

I have sprayed ours with Glyphosate or whatever it's called so can't experiment, and hope I'll never see any again (but probably will...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just re-vivifying this thread - has anyone ever used/eaten garlic mustard (a.k.a jack-by-the-hedge) in proper quantities? I always chew on the leaves, and think it would be a nice culinary plant, but I've never got round to trying it.

(Mabey says (in Flora Britannica "Garlic Mustard or Jack-by-the-hedge, Alliara petiolata, is an abundant herb of hedge-banks and woods, smelling mildly of garlic. It has long been used as a flavouring: in sauces for fish and lamb in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and as an ingredient for spring salads today. In 1993 it was being sold for a pound a bunch in a smart Italian delicatessen in London's Covent Garden. Jack-by-the-hedge is a biennial, and the soft nettle-shaped leaves can be picked from September, when they first begin to show, until late spring, when the brilliant white flowers appear".)


Sheffield, where I changed,

And ate an awful pie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm making the most of the Wild Garlic in the New Forest. I just can't get enough of it right now. Gorgeous. I must say, i do fancy dabling with some Elder. Looks interesting.

After checking photos on the internet, I realised that there was lots of this growing by the river near my house. Which bit of it do you use, same as normal garlic? It is all in flower at the moment, is it still OK to use?


if food be the music of love, eat on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just use the leaves of wild garlic, leave the bulbs to continue growing.

And don't worry, flowering doesn't stop you using it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been making a simple elderflower drink by covering the flowers with water, sugar and lemon, leaving overnight then straining and simmering for 20 mins.

I'm amazed at the intensity of flavour that comes from those little flowers. A beautiful drink on a hot sumemrs day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ceps

IMAG0241.jpg

Damsons

IMAG0239.jpg

Apples

IMAG0240.jpg

Elderberries

IMAG0238.jpg

Mushrooms went in the dehydrator...

IMAG0243.jpg

Damsons and apples went into the pot...

IMAG0246.jpg

...and ultimately into a jar...

IMAG0249.jpg

There's the dried ceps in the background.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ceps

IMAG0241.jpg

THAT is serious foraging.

Could you give us even a rough idea of when and where ... ?


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ashdown Forest. We have been picking large amounts of ceps for the last 3-4 weeks now.

There is about 4 kilos in that bowl and is the result of about 3 hours picking for 1 person last friday evening and saturday morning. Some from locations known to us, others from elsewhere.

After a very dry summer here the forest has gone mushroom crazy recently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that!


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The elderberries were stewed along with some of the damsons, blackberries and apples then spread on the tray of the dehydrator. 6 hours later it can be peeled off...

IMAG0251.jpg

...to make fruit leathers. One has got some pips left in, the smooth one was whizzed in the vita-mix too...

IMAG0250.jpg


Edited by offcentre (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rosehips

IMAG0282.jpg

these were boiled up in some water, strained and sugar added to the resulting liquid. Reduced to a vague syrupy consistency and bottled.

Huge amounts of vit C allegedly and rather suprisingly tasty.

Who'd have thought it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually found the time to indulge in some foraging the other week, came back with a bag-full each of Rosehips, blackberries, sloes, hazelnuts and apples. What I hadn't thought about was whether I actually had time to process all the goodies - typically I was just too busy so now I have a freezer full of rosehips, blackberries and sloes waiting for me! I'm also thinking of making rosehip cordial, plus a bramble jelly and anything other than sloe gin with the sloes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

oh that could be good as long as the cooking and copious amounts of sugar reduce the astringent quality of the sloes! Incidentally I just remembered that Christine Ferber's Mes Confitures has a rosehip jam recipe that sounded good, but very time consuming as it requires separating all the itching powder innards from the pulp of the hips, if you have more that you want to play around with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic pic, wish I had some wild garlic like that near my home!

This is a really interesting thread, I hope others can add more. Apart from nettles and blackberries I haven't foraged much myself. My Dad makes sloe gin and various country wines though, so he picks a bit more. Would love to know about green leafy things that can be foraged.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.