Cracking Good Food have been busy on the foraging front lately, and on Halloween Jesper Launder - "an encyclopaedia of foraging” - took another group our for a wild food hunt. After a quick introduction and gauging of what exactly the foragers wanted to get out of the day, we got stuck in looking for anything interesting. To begin with, we found a large array of poisonous mushrooms and the deadly Autumn crocus, which was a little worrying, but with the promise of a good horde of edibles in the next field, we foraged on in high spirits.
Next we sampled a variety of different plants:
Jack by the hedge – a leaf with garlic and mustard flavours;
Cow parsley – a lemony variant of its culinary counterpart;
Comfrey/knitweed – relieves joint discomfort;
Japanese knotweed – wild rhubarb;
Wild garlic (variant) – all-year-round allium tastes;
Bitter landcress – similar to watercress but with a stronger “wasabi” taste;
Wild horseradish – strong wasabi tastes.
During our forage, we found several mushroom varieties that were brought to Jesper to identify. Jesper is always very approachable and has never failed to identify and enlighten about all species that are found. “Most things that are not so interesting can be made very interesting after a bit of fermentation,” Jesper explained to us as he described yet another wild wine he was experimenting with. Next we went out into the unfertilised cow pastures to find some field mushrooms. This was the jackpot we’d all been waiting for and there were enough for a good feast at the end, everyone in the group interacting to really get to grips with new wild culinary creations. Jesper and I agreed that it’s nice to see so much enthusiasm!