On Dartmoor during the summer we have wild Whortleberries in abundance. They are great to eat whilst walking. With it being a National park and potential regulations I’m not sure if I can legally pick a tub of them. They are basically a wild Blueberry. Delicious.
wherabaouts you at?
Not a that far from the bit I knew - around Buckfastleigh
I’ve seen Whortleberries around Avon Dam and Ryder’s Hill. Buckfastleigh… we call it Bugs-n-Fleas.
I’ve heard that one
I refer to it as Bagels as it is an anagram of Fuck Shit Bagels.
one of the easiest thing to forage is ‘hairy bittercress’ look it up, look at lots of photos, and go out in your garden (if you have one) now.
There is a good chance you will find some. If you are worries have a little nibble on a leaf, it should taste cabbagey (or mustardy).
The flowers are small and white and have only 4 petals, as do all in the cabbage family, in fact the family name is cruciferae
this is the best way to find out about plants
learn the families
families have similarities, but they also adapt to different conditions so some species in some families may have similarities to families in other familes due to the conditions they specialise in
Cabbages/crucifae plants are not going to hurt you (unless its rape thats been pestacided, or dog poo etc)
So this is a safe family, of course here is misidentification that is the risk, but it is not a great risk compared with say, the carrot family (umbellifers) of which there are several very poisonous plants that also look similar to good to eat plants.
Roses (rosaceae) relatives are our great freinds and have been with us a long time, they hybridise freely and we should teach about this.
apples pears plums peaches damsons sloes haws rowan medlars strawberries raspberries blackberries loganberries (even kiwi) meadwsweet, burnett, silverweed, tormentil etc.
The only downside to this family is that there it does sometimes produce prussic acid/cyanide…you know bitter almond/applepips…but you can at least smell and taste this
sorry I’ll stop know, I cant write a book here and now.
but maybe in spring if anyone wants, I would love to volunteer to share with anyone if they want to go a-rambling in their local favourate ‘wild’ place
hurrah! you got some rare native pear trees down there
Yes the Plymouth Pear. There is one inside the grounds of Derriford Hospital. It has a fence around it and a net draped over it. Fully protected.
It tastes like a nuttier version of wheat flour, it doesnt have a much glutin type protein so the baked stuff might need something more glutiny to get you bread as you know it. I make sweet biscuits and savoury biscuits.
It shouldn’t be regarded as just famine food as it could actually be used in normal times
(but what about the squirrels and jays and deer? I hear you ask…plant more oak trees)
what a delicious turn of phrase
beech nuts are so fiddly, but they do taste lovely (raw too) you must have got lucky most years the beech nut meat is scarce, but every few years there is a mast year, where there is an overabundance (this benefit being that populations of animals are not at level to be able to eat all seeds, long lived trees can best benefit from this, but the feature can benefit many life forms e.g. mass hatching of cicadas, too many for predator levels to eat etc )
Do you ever lick the lime flowers? to get the nectar
Or even lick sticky (shiny) lime leaves that have honey due on them (thats aphids etc whose secretions have dropped onto the leaves from higher up? really easy way to get sugar
In fact you can stick your tongue in many/most flowers to get a bit of nectar, when its nice and sunny.
I snack on lime leaves! They’re really tasty and soft. I didn’t get loads of beech nuts and they were a bit of a faff but worthwhile to prove to myself it could be done.
definately be careful with japanese knotweed, as someone might have amateurly put some poison on it in an attempt to kill it.
closely related is bistort
Bistort Easter-Ledge Pudding - OAKDEN
I was lucky to have worked for quite a while in copley (halifax) so ate this
London Wild Fruits is also good:
I haven’t tried it (see upthread), but if I ever pick some I’d like to make a syrup with them.
Where (and when) can I find wild garlic, please?
Late winter through the colder bit of spring, often in wooded areas with a bit of shade - it seems to like little dells and hollows. It looks like Lily of the Valley which, as any Breaking Bad fan will tell you, is poisonous, but unlike Lily of Valley it smells like garlic, so it’s easy to differentiate!
Found a gorgeous bit of chicken-of-the-woods yesterday but I was in a rush and when I got it home I realised I didn’t take notice of what tree it was growing on. Decided it wasn’t worth it in case it had come from a yew as mushrooms growing on yew trees can be toxic, so in the bin it went