Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Wild things you can eat in March


Lots of lovely things are coming up in the hedgerows at the moment, although you might not always know what can be eaten.  There are also edible flowers such as primroses, celandines and violets.  To the right is a small photo of a cleaver - some people call it goose grass.  It is that stuff that  sticks to you and has little seed bobbles on it later in the year.  At the moment, the tips are delicious and very good as a garnish for both starter and main courses, mixed with a little good quality olive oil.  They can also be put in soups and liquidized.  They taste a little like slightly grassy cucumber.

Wild garlic is something else that is just popping up all over the place.  It is best picked before it comes into flower - although the flowers themselves are excellent as garnish.
I put it in risottos and soups.  It is also excellent as a pesto.
If you put a large handful  in a magimix with a handful of parsley (you can also use the parsley stalks) and mint, and whizz it up.  Add about a quarter of a jar of gherkins (with the juice) and a really decent glug of good quality olive oil.  Add salt and pepper and there you have lovely vegan nut free pesto!  It can be used in so many different ways....

The thing that I have only just discovered growing at this time of year are Elf Caps.  They grow on dead wood in the forest and I never knew one could eat them until I went to The Ethicurean and had them there.  I looked them up on youtube and then managed to find lots when I went hunting on my horse last week in the woods.  They usually have moss sticking to the back of them which needs to be removed - you can do this with an old toothbrush.  I pickled mine in an old jar of gherkins - the vinegar is not too strong and has a little tarragon and sweetness about it.  You can eat them raw like this, or cook them and serve them as a beautiful garnish to venison or lamb or indeed anything else. 

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