So Spring is well and truly here and for those of you who haven’t noticed, wild garlic is currently in abundance amongst woodlands and forests. You need to be quick though – its only around for about 6 weeks and its already been out for about 3, shooting up with its waxy green leaves and distinctive aroma.
Its a real shame that such a tasty and easily collected wild food is only here for such a short period of time, so for us we feel its best to make as many uses of it as possible whilst it is still here.
One other brilliant feature of the wild garlic that we weren’t already aware of is that it seems to keep very well in the fridge, in a sealed food-bag. We’ve collected quite a large handful and it kept fine in the fridge for at least 10 days (although I did manage to find a few snails that had also enjoyed their free holiday and all-you-can-eat buffet).
Soda bread has to be one of my favourite types of bread to bake, due to the flavour and lack of time taken to make it from scratch. Sometimes if you’ve had a long day (presumably out foraging) and want to knock up a nice loaf of bread, without having to wait hours and hours for it to rise and proove, then soda bread is a really simple and effective way to make a bread that can accompany most meals.
The reason it is so quick to bake is due to the use of baking soda, and not yeast. You also don’t really need to knead the bread, simply mix the ingredients together in a bowl, add the liquid, shape into rounds and get into the oven.
Another nice thing about making soda bread is that you can use either milk, yoghurt, buttermilk or water, or a mixture of the 4. Its interesting to try it with different liquids and see how the end results change. It can be quite a healthy bread to make too, if you try it with a wholemeal flour instead of plain. Again its good to experiment here and see what works best for you, or using whatever you’ve got left in your cupboards (unfortunately there’s little here that you can forage for, but we’ll add more wild food recipes when we can!)
A fish which a few years ago would have been sniffed at by most, for being unfashionable and bland, with apparently watery tasteless white flesh but which is now quite a prized asset is that of whiting.
Being closely related to the cod fish, which has been severely over-fished in the past, whiting is a very tasty and under-used fish. Recently it has become quite fashionable to eat, unfortunately being targeted as a direct replacement for cod.
If you’re not going to be out foraging (or fishing, to be more accurate) for your own whiting, then you must ensure that you buy sustainably caught specimens only. These should be clearly labelled at your fishmongers, if not then just ask. Avoid those that have been trawled for. Remember that a fresh whiting shouldn’t smell “fishy” but of the sea. It should have bright eyes, with no fading or blemishes around the eye. The gills should be bright and fresh too.
Okay so this isn’t going to involve much foraging (perhaps maybe for a bay leaf from someone’s garden) but to tell the truth there isn’t too much to be collecting at this time of year. Lemons are plentiful in the shops and this is a great way to preserve them, giving you a delicious ingredient to add to lots of your dishes.
Preserving lemons is common in Indian, North African and Moroccan cuisine and the end results are fantastic – you get a really versatile and tasty ingredient for not a lot of effort really. They should be a store-cupboard ingredient ready for most occasions, and if you make a batch in bulk then you will have a long lasting supply of fresh, spicy lemons that’ll improve salads, couscous dishes and much more.
Once the lemons have preserved for at least 1 month all you need to do is remove them from the jar before rinsing them with water, removing any excess salt. The soft inside flesh can be scooped out and used in salad dressings or sauces, or simply mixed in through rice or couscous. The flesh can be chopped up and eaten too, and is also great to add with couscous or other grains.
We’ve made a video to accompany this recipe, which is embedded below. Otherwise just scroll down for the recipe and step-by-step instructions on how to preserve lemons. This particular recipe was taken from the River Cottage Preserves handbook. Enjoy!
Just a heads up notice if you wondered why there have been no posts recently – we’ve changed location to a non blogspot site, we’re now running on wordpress and can be found at Foraged Foods. The blog aims to be the same as before – but just more up to date! We want to teach you about foraging for food, whats in season, where to look for wild food, and of course some great foraged food recipes. Over the next few days we will try and set up some kind of redirect so any visits to this page will take you to the new site, but we’d love it if you could come and join us over at our new blog!