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By wildcurious, Aug 11 2017 11:30AM

Foraging can often be viewed as a rather serious affair.


Bring Burdock (Arctium genus) and children into the mix and this is changes.



Did you know Burdock was the inspiration for Velcro? Next time you pass by, check out the 'burs', you'll see what I mean.


The root is rich in minerals - a good source of Vit B6, Magnesium & Potassium and it can support a healthy digestive system.


The plant is cultivated inJapan for its edible leaf stems, known as Gobu. These are traditionally peeled and steamed.


You'll find Burdock in Spring, Summer & Autumn and the root is best harvested in the first year autumn...






By wildcurious, May 2 2017 04:55PM


Estuary or salt marsh plants offer a whole new world of captivating wild food experiences. Tidal salt marshes are home to a world of salty and succulent plants perfectly adapted to just their little niche.


At this time of year I feel deeply drawn to estuary areas with vivid memories of the flavours and textures the plants offer in abundance, and the grounded experience of gently picking individual leaves with the rays of sunshine bouncing of their silvery green and vibrant skins. For you salt lovers, these are unique spaces to play in, to learn and experience in.



By wildcurious, Apr 14 2017 05:16PM


Last Sunday I had the privilege of leading a Beech tree pilgrimage in Dartington, part of the Wild Church year of tree pilgrimages. As we began our journey we held both the lightness and warmth of the sunshine alongside the darkness of loss close to some of our hearts.


Our journey began with a meeting of pilgrims and a youthful little Beech trying hard to escape her woodland edge confines. Still a few weeks off bud bursting meant the shapely elegance of the Beech buds was apparent and a striking contrast to the Hazel, Sycamore and Ash already unfurling new leaves. Very young Beech leaves are not only edible but have a wonderful soft lemony sorrel flavour as they escape their vibrant little pink jackets.



Noticing the fine details of the tree is an immediately grounding way to draw our attentiveness to the fore. The beginning of making acquainting, developing a relationship with these trees...

By wildcurious, Mar 31 2017 02:09PM


It’s easy to be drawn to Magnolia trees at this wildful time in spring. Have you noticed how they beckon, how they draw you in from the unworn edge of your eye?


Some plants and trees have a subtlety about them. Not Magnolia. She is showy and vibrant and calls for attention as she unfolds her floral display.


As foragers we are interested in the wild edibles, but the medicinal history and properties of Magnolia are hard to overlook. The bark of Magnolias (M. officinales and others) have been used for centuries in traditional eastern and western folk medicine for gastric problems, depression and anxiety to name just a few. And in recent years the evidence has grown for Magnolia’s efficacy in treating anxiety, likely because of a compound in called ‘honokiol’, the acting anxiolytic ingredient. Researchers have found that honokiol and another chemical called ‘magnolol’, found in the bark, are up to 1000 times more potent than Vitamin E in antioxidant activity. It’s thought that these two compounds contribute to the main anti-stress and cortisol-balancing action of Magnolia. Magnolia grandiflora


In just a few weeks Magnolia’s floral beauty will have danced to the ground. So why not make your acquaintance with her.


Magnolia petals are edible and have a distinctly curious taste, a little like mild and floral sushi ginger. Try them, they really are exquisitely intriguing. The more deeply coloured Magnolia’s such as M. soulangeria tend to have slightly sweeter petals M. grandiflora –very common – is also delicious. Remember the cautionary principle when trying new plants, Magnolia petals can give you quite a buzz so take it slow.


In the west country there’s an old tradition of pickling the petals. Robin Harford of EatWeeds has a wonderful and simple recipe. You could also try salt pickling them without sugar for a zingy addition to salads.


Wishing you wildful and bountiful gathering.


By wildcurious, Feb 28 2017 11:15AM

What is it about wild edible plants that draws us in, grabs us by the nape of the soul? Plants are a doorway to wellbeing. The art of foraging, of gathering wild plants requires a slow, attentive and grounded presence in the moment.


Foraging is a dialogue between forager and plant, encouraging a relational way of being in the world. This act, this dynamic process is soul food of a kind.


Perhaps we nibble as we gather strolling past springing hedgerow greens. Perhaps we gather to take home to prepare deliciously curious wild dishes. However we eat our foraged fare we are loading up with a serious dose of vitamins, minerals and protein.


Have you seen the news about how much fruit and veg we’re now being advised to eat? 10 portions daily to cut our chances of developing serious health conditions and to live longer. That’s a tough ask for most people, practically and financially.


Why not turn to wild edible alternatives? We’re literally surrounded by wild superfoods. And what’s extra super about them is how super common they are. Let’s get at the humble Stinging Nettle.


Nettle is packed full of vitamins and minerals with a whopping 400mg potassium per 100g weight and an overall mineral content of 1250 mg per 100g weight*. For comparison spinach has an overall mineral content of 900mg and broccoli has 450mg per 100g weight*. Nettle also has more than 4 times as much calcium as spinach and broccoli*; calcium is essential to help to build and maintain healthy bones and teeth. Nettles are also packed full of Magnesium, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A, Iron and high quality protein.


Spinach also contains much higher quantities of Oxalic acid** compared to nettles, which binds with iron (along with calcium, magnesium and potassium) decreasing the absorption of these nutrients***, and can be harmful to folk with kidney problems.


What does this all mean? Well, in short nettles have a much higher nutritional content than spinach & broccoli, so you get more nutrition with less plant weight – you’ll be fuller with less and well on your way to a wild contribution to your supercharged 5 or 10 a day.


Nettle stings are immediately neutralised by cooking or heating, and really very very delicious sautéed with a little butter or oil.


You might be able to tell, I have a love affair with nettles, and I can't recommend enough for you to make their aquaintence.


Nettles are freely available, and this is the perfect time to gather the top new growth (this allows the plants to continue growing and is the yummiest part)


If you’re still on the fence, check out some great Nettle recipes at www.eatweeds.co.uk and come for a wild food walk to learn much much more. Click here for wild food walk dates


Happy gathering, foragers.


Myrtle


*Nutrition USDA National Nutrient Database http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl

**Spinach contains 750 milligrams Oxalic acid per 100g weight

***http://plenteousveg.com/spinach-iron/



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