Catch Up

11th June 2013

Firstly apologies for the lack of diary entries over the last month, things have certainly been a bit hectic.  Since the last entry nearly a month ago we have had a heady mix of sunshine and rain and things are starting to get back on track after the late start following a super cold March.

Related wild food course: Summer Foraging Course

The Cow Parsley has been flowering for a while and is nearly finishing  now, but still enough around to try if you haven’t tried their flowers before…really sweet with the distinct parsley/aniseed flavour of the young leaves. Make sure you have correctly identified the plant as Cow Parsley. Hawthorn is also coming to it’s end, but again there is still enough around to dry and make tea, flavour syrups etc.  The  first Elderflowers and Dog Rose flowers are staring to appear in the hedgerows pretty much at their normal time of year.

To continue with white flowers, that seem to dominate at this time of year, the Ox-eye Daisies are in full flower at the moment, they seemed to come up from nowhere and I completely missed them in the bud stage where they can be pickled and used like capers.  Bladder Campion is also starting to flower at which point the sweet, pea tasting leaves aren’t as good to eat. Sweet Woodruff has been flowering for a bit and I can’t help collect and dry as much of it as I can for syrups, deserts and drinks.

Sweet Woodruff

There are a few flowers around at the moment that aren’t white, the last few Bluebells are still around and Bugle is flowering at the moment but the next most abundant colour seems to be yellow.  The Yellow Archangel flowers are out and like its relative White Dead-nettle they are sweet and pleasant to eat straight from the plant.

Yellow Archangel

Other yellow flowering edibles that are out at the moment are  Silverweed and Wood Avens.

Silverweed

There is however one plant that was and is flowering that is probably over looked by many and that is Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata which we featured previously. The reason that it is overlooked is because the flower heads rather than being large and brightly coloured to attract insects, are wind pollinated and resemble grass flower heads among which they grow.

 Ribwort flowers

 

As we mentioned in an earlier blog these flower heads taste strongly of mushrooms. The can be simply eaten as they are or incorporated into salads, they can be blanched and served warm with either salad dressing or just butter but to utilise their strong mushroom flavour try the following;-

Cream of not mushroom soup

Serves 2

Ingredients

Ribwort flower spikes

  • A couple of handfuls of Ribwort flower spikes, dried and chopped.
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoon of oil or 75g of butter
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • Dash of mushroom ketchup or soy sauce
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Truffle oil and chives to garnish (optional)
Heat the oil or butter in a saucepan and add the onion and ribwort and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Gradually add the milk, stirring continuously. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly.  Blend the soup with a hand blender or in a liquidiser.  Add salt, pepper, lemon juice and a dash of either mushroom ketchup or soy sauce to taste.  Strain into bowls and if desired garnish with a drizzle of truffle oil and sprinkle with chives.

 

It can also double as a mushroom flavoured sauce.

 

Kev Palmer