White!

All of a sudden over the course of just a week everything has turned white – trees, hedgrows, fields – there are white flowers and blossom (what a fantastic language English is where there is a seperate word for tree flowers!)  So many of these white blooms are from edible plants – its quite an exciting time of year to be foraging – there is so much to eat out there – I know the spring has been wet and cold and grey, but the growth is so lush it almost makes up for it.

Trees in blossom at the moment are Hawthorn (May Blossom), Mountain Ash (or Rowan) and Elder (just coming) – May Blossom can be dried and made into tea, Elderflowers is famous for cordial and champagne, just mark the location of the Rowan and come back in the autumn for the berries.

Looking a little lower and the next layer down there is Cow Parsley, who’s early leaves are edible (making sure you are certain its not its very poisonous simular relation Hemlock), Sweet Cecily – again very simular, but instantly recognisable by its distinct aniseed smell and the versitle Jack by the Hedge (Garlic Mustard) and lots of White Deadnettle.

In some shady damp areas the brilliant Wild Garlic (Ransoms) are still in flower and their all pervading smell fills the valley.

Down at your feet at the bottoms of the hedgerow there are still more white flowered foods to be picked.  Hairy Bittercress and its cousin Shepherd’s Purse – little peppery plants – very welcome in a spring salad.  Last but not least Cickweed with its beautiful star like flowers is abundant and luchious this spring, enjoying as it does a damp spring.

There really is so much out there, and remember its all free for the picking!

 

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Late greens (Chickweed)

I was lucky enough to get a couple of days in the North Yorkshire Moors – the top left hand corner where it is nearly the Lake District, and unlike home in Derbyshire where it has been very dry and all the grass is parched and brown, the fields were lush and green like spring – it didn’t quite rain on us, but it was a ‘bit damp’!

As I tramped about in the hills I was amazed at the amount of chickweed, all fresh and green and just like spring, we were cooking on an open fire (beautiful simple camp site) so I could easily have gathered and cooked it very gently for just a few minutes (better if I had been able to add some chopped spirng onions or chives) with a little butter (no water) and just a squirt of lemon (or some sorrel if you find some of that as well)