When is a weed not a weed? When its edible? When its really pretty?
Well on my allotment I have a weed that is both – Coltsfoot – its a pernicious weed and it gets everywhere, but its leafless flowers are so pretty that it seems such a shame to eridicate it completely.
Roger Phillips in his Wild Food book advocates using the flowers to make wine, but I think you may need a meadow-full to pick the required 5 pints of flowers!
However, wait until the leaves come through and make some Coltsfoot cream, but chopping and sauteing a couple of handfuls of young leaves, then cover with water and cook until soft. Strain off the water and push the leaves through a course sieve, and beat with a tblsp toasted sesame seeds.
If you wonder what it would taste like – cast your mind back to kids sweets from the 70’s – did you ever have Coltsfoot rock – strangely chalky and a bit aniseed-y http://www.aquarterof.co.uk/coltsfoot-rock-p-271.html
As the trees come into blossom, do enjoy it for is own sake and smile as it brightens your day, but also check it out a bit closer and make a mental note of where it is. Because of course where there are flowers there will later be fruit!
Blossom right now is most likely to be blackthorn which will turn into sharp black sloes, which in turn can be made into Sloe Gin – which reminds me… Ahh that’s better, nothing like a glass of deep red nectar to help the concentation and lubricate the typing fingers!
Anyway, within a couple of weeks we should be seeing plum and damson, then apple and pear, followed swiftly by May blossom (from the Hawthorn tree) and the fantastic finalie of Elderflower by which time it will be June and it won’t be long before the first fruits start to appear and the cycle goes on.
OK, so Spring has officially arrived – that’s it – you can stop waiting. To celebrate the extra day, Spring has arrived in February! Prove it, I hear you cry, OK – 3 reasons that I know spring has come…
1. On the way to work I spotted hawthorn bursting into bud and stopped for a nibble
2. On the way home I picked Wild Garlic leaves just poking through (be certain they are not Lily of the Valley – looks simular, smells very different obviously!)
3. Whilst picking said Garlic to be added to chicken, tomato and basil sauce, I collected enough Field (Arrow/Sheep) Sorrel to go in my tomorrow.
What more proof do you need? Here’s to good foraging in 2012, she says raising a delicious glass of 2010 blackbery wine : )