An educational walk –
Last Friday was the most beautiful hot sunny day, warmer than some days we experience in August… how lucky were we that this was the day we had booked a day course learning about wild food & foraging with Rural Courses.
We arrived late, having spent half an hour driving round in circles out in the countryside, getting more and more hot under the collar… when we finally found the right field and parked up & made contact with Michael and the rest of the group we were most relieved. Luckily for us they hadn’t set off on the walk through the countryside yet.
After a brief discussion in the kitchen/barn we headed out into the blistering heat in search of wild edible plants. Michael was so knowledgeable and very interesting, we frequently stopped to look into hedgerows and be amazed at what could actually be eaten, he got us to try numerous leaves, wood sorrel, young hop shoots, Jack-by-the-hedge and various plants related to the cress family to name but a few.
Normally when we walk, we look at the views and the general area around us but not the ground in such detail. The four mile walk included stopping and collecting some bull rushes, dandelion roots, river watercress, various mints all to be cooked up later. Michael also pointed out a number of things to steer well clear of too, so we will be taking a pocket reference book with us in the future, we don’t want any mistakes. We picked a large bag of wild garlic to take home to cook up later, it’s smells devine…
The circular walk brought us back to the field of sheep and then to the rural course kitchen, where we had glasses of his most welcome home-made Elderflower cordial. Michael then cooked up all the different plants we had collected which we all tried, this was after the beautiful lunch he had made for us, a super flan and salads.
The ones that stood out the most were the cooked bull rushes, so delicate and delicious that would make a beautiful light starter, the Japanese knot-weed stem (!) that looked, smelled and tasted just like rhubarb, if someone cooked that up as a crumble, you’d be pushed to tell the difference. Michael then made coffee from dandelion roots that were cooked until black in the oven, then crushed to a powder then boiling water poured on top, wow, really had the aroma of coffee, along the lines of Camp coffee, do you remember that?
We saw wild orchids too, they are protected so don’t pick them..
It really was a most interesting day and would highly recommend it.