Daisy – What a wonderful time of year and the perfect time to get out and about into the countryside in Hampshire and West Sussex for a little bit of foraging. There are so many delicious ingredients to find when out walking. Harriet is often stopping to gather this or that. The Hangers have so much wonderful wild garlic and when you walk through it you can smell the garlic. If you pick the fresh young leaves you can make a delicious soup with them, or a wild garlic pesto, perfect on pasta. And the pretty white flowers are lovely scattered over a salad.
And nettle soup is another tasty treat for this time of year. Of course to pick those naughty stinging nettles the humans need to wear gloves – I hate it when I have to walk through stinging nettles and the bottom of my feet get stung.
Spud – Me too Daisy, it is all tingly and prickly and not very nice.
Daisy – but the resulting soup is well worth it. You want the fresh young tips of the nettles and you need to keep the gloves on to wash them but once they are cooked the sting disappears completely and with a bit of onion, some stock, salt and pepper and a few other bits and pieces, you have yourself a delicious meal.
Spud – I have also noticed the first signs of elderflowers coming out in the last few days, it won’t be long now until they will be in full bloom. They are so pretty and smell wonderful and left for 24 hours in a bowl with water, sliced lemons, some citric acid and sugar the flavour of the elderflowers infuse into the water as the sugar dissolves. Then all you have to do is strain the liquid into a bottle and you have a wonderful elderflower cordial (dilute to taste!). It is always best to pick the flowers on a lovely sunny day as it is the pollen that holds the delicate flavour and it all gets washed away in the rain.
Spud – Also if you are really lucky you can find some St George’s mushrooms, so called as they tend to be out and about around St George’s day which of course is on 23 April. They are very delicious but it is really important that no one ever eats any mushroom until they are certain it is edible as many are poisonous and some are deadly poisonous. The same goes for plants, fruits and seeds – make sure you know what you are picking!
Daisy – Oh Spud, you are so right. You have to be so careful, but there are foraging courses that you can go on where you go out with experience and knowledgeable people who can confirm the identity of what you find.
Spud – well if you ask me Daisy it is safer to stick to cheese – I much prefer cheese anyway!
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