Thank you so much to everyone who came on our Spring Foraging days at the weekend and for your lovely feedback. We’ll get organised properly with more pictures soon but, in the mean time, here are the recipes we used with our lovely spring greens: cleavers, nettles, dandelions, wild garlic and hairy bittercress.
We used cleavers and nettle, either crushed in a pestle and mortar and squeezed through muslin or extracted using a juicer. When it was mixed with freshly juiced apple and carrots, even the kids were going back for seconds and thirds!
Herby Garlicky Butter (smothered on campfire damper bread)
Simply cut and then crush (we used a pestle and mortar) a mixture of hairy bittercress, wild garlic and dandelion. Mix with softened butter and season to taste. Great instead of garlic butter on baguettes or on hot damper bread, pasta, vegetables, baked potatoes etc.
Wild Salsa Verde
Cut and crush any spring greens (we used wild garlic, dandelion, hairy bittercress and parsley) and mix with olive oil, seasoning and a dash of cider vinegar. We ate ours on warm bread with nettle soup.
(Thanks for the picture Anna Mitchell!)
Sweat onions in butter or oil with garlic if desired. Add water, potatoes and swede (optional) and cook until soft. Towards the end, add a good handful of nettles (just the top 3 inches or so) and cook until soft. Season with salt and pepper and add vegetable bouillon concentrate to taste. Blend until smooth. This is a flexible recipe and you could include leeks, wild garlic, spinach, peas etc.
Plantain Salve (to soothe your skin after you’ve picked nettles!)
Infuse plantain (fresh and allowed to wilt to remove some of the water OR dried) in organic sunflower oil over a double boiler for around 4 hours. Strain and blend with beeswax which has been melted over a double boiler or just add beeswax to the warm oil and heat gently until blended. A ratio of one part wax to 10 parts oil will give a fairly soft salve – increasing the amount of wax will make it harder. You could add a few drops of soothing lavender oil too. Or put some lavender heads in with the plantain when you make your infusion.
Spring Greens Vinegar
This tasty vinegar can be used in salad dressings or taken as a tonic, mixed with raw honey if the thought of taking it neat makes your tongue curl! It can also be used to season vegetables and a spoonful on greens increases the available calcium by a third.
Simply fill a clean jar with a combination of spring greens (cleavers, dandelion, nettles and wild garlic) and cover in cider vinegar. Using raw vinegar ‘with the mother’ means that you’ll be getting a great probiotic boost at the same time as benefiting from the properties of the plants. Leave to infuse for up to two weeks but make sure that the greens stay below the surface of the vinegar so they don’t go off. If you are using a metal lid, protect the lid with a cellophane jam pot cover as the vinegar will react with the metal otherwise. After a few weeks, strain and enjoy.