July is a fantastic time to start foraging for treats in your local woodlands and nature. If you’re not sure what foraging is, you won’t be alone! Foraging is when you collect all sorts of wild food for free bursting from hedgerows, trees and meadows.
The number one rule for foraging is to be sure that you can always identify what you’re about to eat and be 100% certain about it. If you aren’t sure, then don’t ever risk it.
What can you find when you go foraging in July? Let’s take a look.
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
The bilberry is probably most commonly known as the blueberry, a classic among a British berry mix, and well known for being a ‘superfood’. This berry can be eaten either raw, or cooked, and is a great addition to homemade fruit smoothies.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
Meadowsweet has long been recognised as a hedgerow herbal medicine.
Hippocrates first popularised the use of plants as medicine, and this beautiful, little blossom was famously important to the development of aspirin.
Meadowsweet is characterised by a small cluster of white flowers, with a fluffy appearance, that sit on top of long, green stems.
It is a very attractive plant and is easily identifiable, which makes this a good choice for beginners, or to plant in the garden for those with a green finger.
Fat Hen (Chenopodium album)
This common and nutritious plant is also known as wild spinach. It was, in fact, a staple food of centuries ago.
It’s related to quinoa, which is also hailed for being an excellent source of nutrition and protein.
Because this tastes very similar to spinach, even in the way it’s cooked, it can be used as a direct swap in salads and other dishes. Just lightly steam or boil as you would with regular spinach. Fat hen has diamond-shaped leaves that have a delicate white fur that coats them.
Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Chickweed is a plant that is part of the carnation family. It is native to Europe and is commonly found by roadsides, shingle riverbanks, coastal cliffs and in gardens.
Even though chickweed can grow up to around a foot long, it can actually be quite hard to spot. Amongst the mass of green stems, these tiny white flowers bloom.
Hailed as a ‘super plant’ in reference to its powerhouse of nutrients, its flavour is also very palatable. It is the perfectly pleasant, and mild addition to salads, sandwiches, wraps – whatever you fancy!
You can eat chickweed raw or cooked, and if you decide to cook it, it’s known to be a brilliant substitute for spinach as well. However, whichever way you choose to eat it, make sure it’s freshly picked as it doesn’t refrigerate well!
Rose Petal (Rosa species)
Rose petals are very common for a lot of uses in the UK, and fortunately for the forager, all rose flowers are edible! Which means there is much less room for a dangerous mistake, misidentifying between roses.
Use of the rose plant and petals dates back to several thousand years ago, and its use in all kinds of things is very much prevalent in this day and age.
You can eat rose petals on salads; they can be used for potpourri, distilled and then used as a perfume extract. They can be turned into ‘rose water’ which is commonly used as a skin toner, or even as an extract for food and tea.
As you can see, roses are a wonderful plant to look at and gather up. If you’re going to forage them, then please make sure they are wild, and not just in somebody’s back garden – unless it’s your own!
We hope this has inspired you to forage your way through July and create some wonderful wild treats. If you fancy making a trip out of it, why not have a look at glamping in South Wales? The perfect overnight stay for your wild weekend.
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