Long summer evenings were made for little adventures. It’s time to stop seeing the working week as something to get through, (‘Hump Day’: ICK) and learn to savour hours of balmy sunshine. Tick off some of my favourite outdoor escapes and I promise you you’ll see week days in a whole new light.
I noticed on a cycle a few days ago that the wild garlic is starting to spring up. It’s the perfect find for a foraging newbie as it’s easy to spot in woodlands (look for the wide leaves, small white flowers and the smell of garlic!) and easy to cook with. Why not dig up some bulbs, pick a handful of the leaves and make my wild garlic soda bread this weekend?
Rosehips are abundant in British hedgerows in autumn and early winter, and are easily recognisable – fat, bright red buds with spiky black ends. They are a bit of a wonder food – high in vitamins C, A and B and rich in antioxidants, they are used to make syrups, jams, jellies, even bread and pies. If you’re a bit of a beginner in the foraging stakes, start off with my healthy and delicious rosehip tea recipe, which is fantastic for beating winter colds.
A vibrant city may seem an unlikely place to go foraging, but if you know where to look, Dublin’s bursting with edible goodies. So Visit Dublin asked foraging expert and restaurateur Paul Quinn of Nádúr Collective to share his foraging secrets on how to find everything from scurvy grass to elderflower in the city, and then super-talented artist Katt Frank turned his advice into this beautiful illustrated guide.
You know the deal: the apocalypse has been and gone, the population has been decimated and now you must survive off grubs and the occasional squirrel in the woods. This is when hours watching Ray Mears and endless episodes of Lost pays off big time.
One of my favourite writers, the hilarious Tanya Gold, would not do well left to forage for herself – Bear Grylls she ain’t. Watch this video for The Guardian as a guide on how not to attempt to live off the land (although there is a half-decent explanation of how to skin a pheasant) and also because it is funny in a car crash kind of way.
This weekend I decided to practise what I preached earlier on in this blog by going out foraging, also known as ‘seeing what wild goodies I can collect to feed myself with’. Foraging scares a lot of people – it sounds difficult, time-consuming and frankly, dull. To these people I say, you are incorrect, sirs.
Obviously if you’re a ready-meal enthusiast, picking your own is not for you. It does require going out, finding some tasty leaves, gathering them up and bringing them home. However, as well as usually getting to go on a nice walk, it’s surprising how much you can gather in a small amount of time. In a ninety-minute walk from Combe Down in Bath to the charming Tucking Mill (victim of many a name-alteration), on Sunday, I collected a huge bag of green things to take home, including these beauties below.
Smart kids don’t go to the supermarket when they can go old-school (pre-industrial school?) and collect goodies from their nearest friendly forest (parks/patches of grass on laybys/windowboxes accepted also).