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May 17, 2019

Good day Foragers!

I hope you enjoyed learning the rules for foraging in the previous instalment; follow them for a safe experience and plenty of food for the future.

This week I will be introducing you to my weekly 5; that is, 5 plants you can find NOW to practise your 100% ID and, lets face it, who doesn’t like free food! Without further delay, here we go.

Common Daisy (Bellis Perennis)

You love it? You love it not? You better believe it, those annoying flowers in your lawn are edible! You most likely know Daisys from making chains as children but never thought to taste one.  The flowers and leaves are both edible, though not to everyone's taste; some describe as bitter, some say it is like medicine. The flowers and buds can also be made into a tea or pickled like capers.

Take care where you pick them, at a couple of inches tall, they are in range of even a Chihuahua pup!

Common Wood Sorrel (Oxalis Acetosella)

Often confused with Clover due to it’s trifoliate leaves, Common Wood Sorrel packs a flavour punch!  You can distinguish it apart from Clover as the leaves are more heart shaped than rounded.

Leaves, stems and flowers all edible, often used as a garnish or sprinkled into salads to give a burst of flavour.

Common Wood Sorrel is packed full of Vitamin C and amongst other benefits can soothe an aching stomach.

BE CAREFUL though, as this particular plant contains higher than average amounts of Oxalic Acid, although generally you would need to consume a vast amount to feel the effects. That said, if you do have a medical condition it may be worth checking with the doc first.

Wild Edible Plants - Lady's Smock/Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine Pratensis)

A slender, delicate meadow plant that packs a wasabi-like bite, It’s light pink four petalled flower is key when distinguishing this from Hairy Bittercress.

Leaves, flowers and young shoots of this plant are excellent additions to a salad depending on your taste, think wasabi at one end of the scale through to mild cress at the other.

Lady’s Smock contains potassium, magnesium, iron, mustard oil compounds and very high levels of Vitamin C, a great addition to any meal especially when a boost in nutrients is needed. It is also said to help with heavy menstrual bleeding.

Garlic Mustard or Jack-By-The-Hedge (Alliaria Petiolata)

As the common name suggests, here we have one of the ‘wild garlics’. Commonly seen at the side of the road or hedge also on the periphery of woodland enjoying the dappled sunlight.

It grows in a two-year cycle, difficult to spot in the first year, it stays close to the ground and has very round shaped leaves; in the second year it grows tall with white flowers and pointed upper leaves,

The greens are highly nutritious with vitamins ACE and various B vitamins along with this, it is awash with essential minerals and Omega-3 fatty acids

Wild Carrot or Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus Carota)

Carrots, wild and cultivated belong to the family Apiaceae; this family contains members that are amongst the most dangerous in the UK. REMEMBER THE No.1 RULE – 100% ID!

Found in meadows and coastal regions, Wild carrot is a treat indeed when dining ‘el wild’ It’s hairy stems and often a single pink flower in the centre of the umbel distinguish from the nasty relatives. Also, the flowers will encase themselves in a lacey cocoon when they go over.

 The roots are the parts we want, they look like a white carrot and smell (to me) as such too, used the same as cultivated carrots, they contain Vitamin K, Biotin, Carbohydrates and natural sugars – great survival food!

Please remember 100% ID!!

Steve Aley

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