Warmest Day of the Year so Far!

Well, we are at the beginning of March – as I recall pretty near the start of the year, winter is just coming to a close…the media is running with headlines that we are having the warmest day of the year so far…that would be a headline if it was November or even September, but March?? Surely it’s not really news that it is warmer than January or February??

Anyway – rant over – this unseasonably warm weather has resulted in some brilliant very early foraging, before even the snowdrops have finished.  The hawthorn leaves have already started to sprout – grab a handful and pop in a cheese sandwich adding a great nutty taste; wild garlic leaves are popping up in all sorts of places – around streams and ponds – it prefers damp growing conditions – use a handful wherever you would use bulb garlic; garlic mustard in the bottoms of hedges – pick it only in those areas not in the DPZ (dog pee zone); dandelions and nettles are both also coming up – nettle soup will very soon be on the menu for my lunch.

 

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May Blossom Brandy

Woo Hoo!  how much May blossom is there this year?!!

Its everywhere, and so beautiful and fragrant too.  Well here is a way to capture that scent and drink it in when darker evenings arrive that I found in Richard Mabey’s Food for Free

Gather enough May flowers to fill a pint bottle.  If you can take the bottle with you when gathering and cut the blossom straight in using scissors to avoid losing petals and gaining stems (which is what will happen if you pick bunches and carry a bag of home)

Add 2 table spoons of sugar and fill the bottle with brandy.  Using the same method as for slow gin, shake the bottle a couple of times every day until the sugar has all dissolved.  Then stick it somewhere warm and dark until at least the beginning of  Autumn, then strain and decant into a clean bottle and drink carefully!!

Celendine

Today is so Spring!!

Its so spring beacuse today I saw my first butterfly of the year, the frogs have spawned in the pond in our garden and I even caught a glimpse of some Wood Anenomies (Windflowers) .

I vistited the embryonic Rhubarb Farm today (http://83.170.122.74/rhubarb_farm/index.php) a new Social Enterprise Community Supported Agriculture project starting near Bolsover.  Beautiful Spring Day, we saw loads of things to eat at the bottom of the hedgerows – enough to make a propoer spring salad – dandelions, garlic mustard, cow parsley, hogweed, dead nettle, sorrel and of course hawthorn itself.

What caught my eye most of all was a whole bank of Celendine.  their beautiful star like flowers shining in the spring sun.  But everytime I see Celendine it really brings home the reality of starving.  You see one of the old names for Celendine is famine food.  Each of the tiny plants, if you dig them up, has teeny tiny nodules on the roots and these, if collected and ground up are pure starch.  How poor would you have to be to have nothing else?   How hungry would you have to be to face such a task to fill your belly?  I think I am very lucky to live in the Western World in 21st century.