13 February 2013

GUEST BLOG: Wild times

By guest blogger BETH CREEDON

As something of a wild food aficionado, I was excited to build up my repertoire by joining the foraging trip last Sunday with Jesper Launder and Cracking Good Food, and, despite normally being something of a fair weather forager, braved the drizzle to meet at 11am at Fletcher Moss Park in Didsbury.

I know Jesper Launder as a very knowledgeable herbalist and wild food expert, and he taught us how to identify common plants in their first flushes of early spring growth. For ten years I have been foraging mainly in the summer and autumn, so finally learning how to spot Garlic Mustard, Cow Parsley (and how to tell it apart from its deadly relative Hemlock), Ground Elder, Cleavers, Hogweed and Three Cornered Leeks in February felt very exciting. In the boggy parts of the park we searched for and found Wild Garlic then discovered a huge bounty of Scarlet Elf Cups (pictured above) on the mossy logs. They are just so beautiful and the group got stuck in and collected a large bounty.

We took our five-month-old baby in a sling and our dog, both of whom became a little impatient with the slow stooping process around the park, so we had to depart early, unfortunately missing out on sampling the cook-up at the end. However, in the one and a half hours we were there, we collected some Cow Parsley(above) and feral Chives, and some peppery Hairy Bittercress to add to a homemade tabbouleh, and took home a wealth of seasonal wild food expertise to last a lifetime. Thank you Cracking Good Food and thank you Jesper!

You can read a review of Beth's wild food evening in Chorlton here.

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