Recently I picked up Alys Fowler’s The Thrifty Forager. Its not everyday that I wander the forest to began my day, but for this morning I decided to hunt for my breakfast. This is not your conventional foraging book, Alys details in colorful diagrams numerous leaf shapes for identification, a season table and a handful of recipes to make this strange culinary experience a delight.
As I scavenged the forest, I found wood-sorrel,bittersweet clover like leaf, full of vitamin c. After a handful, I managed to identify some lemon balm. This leaf has a slight lemon zing to it, but none the less can be eaten heartily as it lacks a bitter aftertaste. Apparently lemon balm leafs make an excellent tea, this I am yet to experiment with.
Shortly afterwards I stumbled upon goose grass, or as I remember t from my childhood – sticky willy. This plant it unmistakable as almost child of the British isle’s will have some recollection of having it stuck on their clothes. This is surprisingly edible, when the shoots are young, before it seeds. Its miniature hooks cling to your mouth, as your gnashes pulverise the stem into a watery mush.
I manage to come across wild strawberry leaves, they are often found in abundance and in summer cover the strawberries, they also make a nice brew.
A nice addition to the above salad leafs is Garlic mustard, which as you might have guessed it, tastes of a combination of garlic and mustard. A similar plant is wild garlic which when its leafs are crushed produce the pungent aroma of garlic. Its strong taste would make an excellent substitute.
I found being out in the wild, perhaps more enjoyable than the breakfast, none the less, the thrill I got from successfully identify a plant, and then gorging my self on its leafs brought a sense of wonder at what wild foods are out there, and what can I eat? I heartily recommend spending a sunny morning gathering a few leafs for a salad. By identifying edible plants, you can open the doors to natures ever abundant supermarket.