Rose Bay Willowherb

Not so easy to spot (unless you can identify the remains of last year’s flower spikes).  A few of the leaves can be added to salads as greens, but some people find them too bitter.  They can be mixed with other greens and cooked very gently (or steamed) for a spinich-y result.

Visit to Renishaw

Visited Renishaw today and met with Dave the gardener with a view to delivering Wild Food Walks for them later in the year.  They have a  very varied landscape with lots of habitats -woodland, meadow, hedgerow and waterside.

Dave took me on a tour and worked out that it would be easy to run evening walks with them  – all sorts of things available throughout the year – lots of potential.

Brambles

If brambles / blackberries are starting to encroach where they shouldn’t into your path or garden, nip them in the bud – literally!  Nip off the tips of blackberries and pop them with the rest of your spring greens into the salad bowl.  Only take the very youngest ones of course, before they get prickly!

Dandelion

Look anywhere and everywhere (including my allotment!) and you can spot great swathes of dandelion flowers.  Tradition decrees that St George’s Day (23rd April) is the day to pick the flowerheads to make wine.

There are a couple of wine receipes here www.winemaking.jackkeller.net/dandelio.asp and another one here www.greenchronicle.com/recipes/dandelion_wine.htm.

Good luck!

Garlic Mustard / Jack-by-the-Hedge

Now coming into flower all over the place, this mild garlicy-mustard herb can be used as part of a mixed spring salad, its good with fish (try a mixture of jack-by-the-hedge and sorrel for stuffing a trout).

It is also great mixed with mint for a sauce for roast lamb.  Finely chop the garlic mustard and the mint, and mix with a little vinegar and a little sugar.

Hogweed

Roger Phillips in Wild Food says that Hogweed Shoots are ‘unequivocally one of the best vegetables I have eaten’  What higher praise could there be.

It doesn’t look like you should be able to eat it – its not pretty, its very common, its leaves are big and hairy and it has an ugly name.  But take the shoots before the leaves have uncurled put them in a pan with a tiny amount of water and some butter and cook for less than 10 mins, serving them with lemon juice and black pepper and you might just be surprised!