Category: Seashore

Sea Buckthorn - August

Sea Buckthorn Berries – well worth the effort

Keep an eye out for Sea Buckthorn at the moment. While primarily a coastal plant, it does get planted in gardens and for landscaping often far inland. The berries are a “super food”, rich in antioxidants, vitamin C (15 x oranges), amino acids and other good things – so good you see Sea Buckthorn products sold in health food shops for internal and external uses. They have a long history of medicinal uses back to the Ancient Greeks. The plant (especially the seed oil) has many medical uses. The fruit pulp can be applied directly to the skin for for treating sunburn; healing wounds, for acne, dermatitis, dry skin, eczema, skin ulcers and more!
 
Harvesting the berries is an interesting challenge. John Wright describes it very amusingly in his River Cottage Handbook – Edible Seashore, suggesting you wear your loudest Hawaiian shirt that includes a lot of orange. The branches have sharp thorns, the berries are easily burst – “rubber balloons of bright orange liquid attached to a barbed wire fence”. One technique (to be used in moderation as it can be invasive), is to cut branches off, take them home to put in the freezer then knock the berries off. You can also put plastic sheet on the ground under the bush and shake it, or carefully (remembering the thorns), squeeze a cluster of berries over a bucket and catch the juice, straining it later to remove leaves / debris. You can read more on harvesting techniques here.
Sea Buckthorn - August
Sea Buckthorn – August
 
This all sounds like a lot of work but is worth the effort. The berries are very sour but have an amazing flavour. The fruit can be used to make pies, jams, squashes / syrups, liquors (a la sloe gin but with vodka), etc. A jam made with the berries and crab apples is one of my favourites. A forager’s Bucks Fizz put combines some juice with Elderflower Champagne and they make a great sauce to go with a Seaweed Panna Cotta.

Particularly overseas the berries are used for many different commercially sold products – juice, oil, jam, carbonated beverages, alcoholic beverages such as wine and vodka; breakfast cereals, powder, rice pops, juice powder, toffees, biscuits; candies, gums, and fruit chews; cosmetic products such as facial cream and shampoo!

Please note it is nothing to do with Common Buckthorn or the mildly poisonous Alder Buckthorn.
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Seashore Foraging Walk 29/04/17

Thanks to all the lovely folk that joined us on our seashore foraging walk on the spectacular Jurassic Coast in Dorset last Saturday. The sun shone and we found a good range of seashore plants, seaweed and had good luck on the crustacean front. We are back again on 27th May (fully booked), for Coastal Plants on 15th July and seashore again on 23rd September. Thanks to those that sent in some of their photos.

The fiery Black Mustard - horseradish meets wasabi!
The fiery Black Mustard – horseradish meets wasabi!

 

Sea Beet - my favourite wide vegetable. Makes great soup amongst other things.
Sea Beet – my favourite wide vegetable. Makes great soup amongst other things.

 

Seaweed selection - some of the 10 edible species we found.
Seaweed selection – some of the 10 edible species we found.

 

Definitely something in this one
Definitely something in this pot

 

I'm staying here!
I’m staying here!
Lrts get another pair of hands
Lets get another pair of hands

 

Edible (Brown) Crab. Undersize (just) so back it went.
Edible (Brown) Crab. Undersize (just) so back it went.

 

Flounder (slightly surprised no other temporary residents of the pot hadn't eaten it!)
Flounder (slightly surprised no other temporary residents of the pot hadn’t eaten it!)

 

Feisty Velvet Swimming Crab grabs my finger.
Feisty Velvet Swimming Crab grabs my finger.

 

So glad I had thick gloves on!
So glad I had thick gloves on!

 

There's something interesting in this one.
There’s something interesting in this one.
A beautiful, but undersize Lobster, so back it went.
A beautiful, but undersize Lobster, so back it went.
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Seaweed

Seaweed was on the television last night as part of “Back to the Land with Kate Humble“. This series champions the UK’s most inspirational rural entrepreneurs. In last night’s episode she met a seaweed collector who left an office job in Swindon for a life working on the beach and is now running a successful business selling Welsh seaweed products to a global market.

The company is called The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company and Jonathan gathers a range of seaweeds on the Pembrokeshire coast continuing a tradition of hundreds of years. There is reproduction of a seaweed drying hut nearby, there were many in this area once . The company uses seaweed in:

* takeaway food sold at his beach café (street food outlet) and many outdoor festivals (e.g. Laver relish on burgers / gingercake with Laver etc.)

Amazing Gingerbread - dried laver flakes being a special ingredient.
Amazing Gingercake – dried laver flakes being a special ingredient.

* in products – dried flakes, seaweed salts, butter, “kelchup” (yes Kelp Ketchup!) and more – sold globally including to the Japanese (“coals to Newcastle” eat you heart out!)

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I visited the café on holiday a few years ago and the Gingerbread was stunning. I did email Jonathan for the recipe, he replied:

That is a top secret recipe, but to help guide you we use extra ginger (i.e. ginger powder and fresh ginger), Welsh Stout and Welshman’s Caviar (his dried Laver product name – apparently a phrase coined by the Welsh actor Richard Burton).

You can watch the episode (if you are in the UK) here – forward to 21:12 (to 28:26).

My only criticism is I disagree with pulling seaweed directly off the rocks, I recommend cutting it.

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Sea beet leaves and elderflower: Learning to forage for food

We recently took a family out for an afternoon learning to forage in Dorset followed by cooking a wild food-based meal. They included a journalist who wrote the below great article about their experience. It was in The Daily Mail and numerous other papers / news sites across the US including the Washington Post and Yahoo News. The coverage was also in other countries including Canada, Namibia, Kuwait and New Zealand!

If you would like to experience a bespoke / private foraging activity for your family or group please look here.

 

 

“This,” said our guide James Feaver, “is our main course.”

We were standing in front of a dung heap in a high meadow in the English countryside. Pushing up out of the ooze was a low-growing weed. He bent down, plucked a sprig and held it up.

“Fat hen. Humans have eaten it for thousands of years. We’re going to need a lot of it.”
After a glance among us, my family and I set about picking with an approximation of gusto. When you are foraging for your food you can’t be too squeamish about little things like cow dung beneath your fingers.

I have long been fascinated with the idea of living off the land, finding sustenance among the wild plants that teem in hedges and fields. So a week’s holiday in Dorset, in southwest England — a county bursting with picture-book countryside — gave me the chance to see how abundant nature’s larder really is.

Foraging is increasingly popular in the U.K. and there are many teachers to choose from. On a recommendation, I contacted Hedgerow Harvest and booked a half-day course for me, my partner Fon and our 7-year-old son, Jimmy.

On a classic English summer’s day – meaning we experienced all weather conditions in one afternoon – we met up with James Feaver, who gave up office work for professional foraging eight years ago. He now runs courses in south and southwest England, but mostly in Dorset, his adopted home.

photo shows James Feaver, a foraging guide, holding a spray of elderflowers on a field trip in search of wild edibles in the county of Dorset in southwest England. Feaver offers a course through his company Hedgerow Harvest in foraging for edible plants like elderflowers, mint and sea beet leaves, which are then used to prepare a meal. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)
This July 12, 2006 photo shows James Feaver, a foraging guide, holding a spray of elderflowers on a field trip in search of wild edibles in the county of Dorset in southwest England. Feaver offers a course through his company Hedgerow Harvest in foraging for edible plants like elderflowers, mint and sea beet leaves, which are then used to prepare a meal. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)

We met him in the village of Toller Porcorum, donned rubber boots and light waterproof jackets, and set off in search of wild provender.

We spent the next few hours walking through lanes hedged in with soaring banks, down tracks drenched in birdsong, beside clear streams and across uncut meadows in search of ingredients for a three-course meal.

This July 12, 2016 photo shows James Feaver, left, a foraging guide, leading Fonthip Boonmak and her son, Jimmy Harmer, through a high meadow in the county of Dorset in southwest England, in search of wild edibles. Feaver offers a course through his company Hedgerow Harvest in foraging for edible plants like elderflowers, mint and sea beet leaves, which are then used to prepare a meal. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)
This July 12, 2016 photo shows James Feaver, left, a foraging guide, leading Fonthip Boonmak and her son, Jimmy Harmer, through a high meadow in the county of Dorset in southwest England, in search of wild edibles. Feaver offers a course through his company Hedgerow Harvest in foraging for edible plants like elderflowers, mint and sea beet leaves, which are then used to prepare a meal. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)

If like me you can’t tell wild sorrel from a blade of grass, this quickly becomes daunting. But Feaver has gimlet eyes and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the edible.

High in a hedgerow, a spray of tiny white flowers stood proud of the foliage. He hooked it with his hazel stick, pulled it down to picking height, and inhaled.

“The smell of summer,” he said.

For centuries, country-folk have used the fragrant elderflower to add a zesty flavour to food and drink. Now it would bring its zing to our dessert. We plucked head after head. I lifted up Jimmy so he could join the harvest.

In quick order we found red currants, wild mint and tiny, sweet, wild strawberries. The wicker basket James provided — a nice touch — began to fill.

In this July 12, 2016 photo, foraging guide James Feaver, left, shows red currants to Jimmy Harmer, center, and his mother, Fonthip Boonmak, on a hunt for wild edibles in the county of Dorset in southwest England. Feaver offers a course through his company Hedgerow Harvest in foraging for edible plants like elderflowers, mint and sea beet leaves, which are then used to prepare a meal. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)
In this July 12, 2016 photo, foraging guide James Feaver, left, shows red currants to Jimmy Harmer, center, and his mother, Fonthip Boonmak, on a hunt for wild edibles in the county of Dorset in southwest England. Feaver offers a course through his company Hedgerow Harvest in foraging for edible plants like elderflowers, mint and sea beet leaves, which are then used to prepare a meal. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)

So far so idyllic, but this arcadia comes with thorns.

Of the many rules of foraging the most important is this: Don’t eat anything unless you are 100 percent certain you know what it is. Some edible plants look uncannily like ones that are deadly. For example, cow parsley goes well in salads but is easily mistaken for something you wouldn’t want near your dinner plate: hemlock.

Other rules include don’t uproot anything (it’s illegal), only take sustainably and don’t pick from ground-hugging plants near footpaths “where dogs can wee on them.” That was Jimmy’s favourite rule.

Time was getting on. From Toller Porcorum we drove down steep, narrow lanes to a nearby beach. Here you can see the stunning coastline sweep in an arc from Portland in Dorset right into neighbouring east Devon. A trove of fossils has earned it the name Jurassic Coast and UNESCO World Heritage status.

But we weren’t there for beauty or geology. We were there for sea beet leaves, a close relative of garden spinach that grows in low belts along the pebbly foreshore. More free food, right at our feet.

 

Photo shows Fonthip Boonmak left, James Feaver, centre, and Boonmak's son Jimmy Harmer, right, gathering edible sea beet leaves near southern England's Jurassic Coast. Feaver is a foraging guide who offers a course through his company Hedgerow Harvest in how to find wild edibles. The sea beet leaves were used to make a velvety green soup as part of a supper prepared from the foraged plants, herbs and flowers. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)
Photo shows Fonthip Boonmak left, James Feaver, centre, and Boonmak’s son Jimmy Harmer, right, gathering edible sea beet leaves near southern England’s Jurassic Coast. Feaver is a foraging guide who offers a course through his company Hedgerow Harvest in how to find wild edibles. The sea beet leaves were used to make a velvety green soup as part of a supper prepared from the foraged plants, herbs and flowers. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)

 

But don’t go thinking you can kiss goodbye to supermarkets just because your eyes have been opened. That’s not the idea of the course.

“Foraging isn’t really about survival,” Feaver had said at the start. “It’s about taking the best of the wild and adding it to conventional ingredients to make great-tasting food.”

Great tasting? We’d be the judges of that.

Back at our holiday cottage, Feaver supervised the preparation of the feast. For starters, sea beet soup. For main course, fat hen pesto bake, with more fat hen as a side dish, washed down with sparkling elderflower wine. To finish, elderflower and gooseberry fool, garnished with wild strawberries.

It was a revelation, especially the sea beet soup which was one of the most delicious soups I have ever had: rich, velvety and homey, like swallowing a big bowl of contentment.

This July 12, 2016 photo shows bowls of velvety green soup made from sea beet leaves, part of a supper made from wild plants gathered in the county of Dorset in southwest England. The foraging expeditions are led by James Feaver through his company Hedgerow Harvest, which teaches participants how to identify, find and cook edible plants like elderflowers, mint and sea beet leaves. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)
This July 12, 2016 photo shows bowls of velvety green soup made from sea beet leaves, part of a supper made from wild plants gathered in the county of Dorset in southwest England. The foraging expeditions are led by James Feaver through his company Hedgerow Harvest, which teaches participants how to identify, find and cook edible plants like elderflowers, mint and sea beet leaves. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)
This July 12, 2016 photo shows a baked pesto dish made from a plant called fat hen, with a serving of Sea Beet leaves on the side, as part of a dinner made from wild plants gathered in the county of Dorset in southwest England. The wild edibles were foraged as part of a course, led by James Feaver through his company Hedgerow Harvest, that teaches participants how to identify and cook with plants like fat hen, elderflowers and sea beet leaves. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)
This July 12, 2016 photo shows a baked pesto dish made from a plant called fat hen, with a serving of Sea Beet leaves on the side, as part of a dinner made from wild plants gathered in the county of Dorset in southwest England. The wild edibles were foraged as part of a course, led by James Feaver through his company Hedgerow Harvest, that teaches participants how to identify and cook with plants like fat hen, elderflowers and sea beet leaves. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)

It had been a long day. We’d started at 1:30 p.m. and the last spoon didn’t scrape its empty bowl till 9 p.m.

As he packed away his stick, basket and scissors, Feaver said that after doing the course, “people look at the countryside with different eyes.”

Yes, I thought. With eyes like dinner plates.

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Mackerel Time – Get Smoking!

The annual return of the Mackerel into the coastal waters is not really a miracle but for many a reason to rejoice. I’m no fisherman but do enjoy spending a warm evening trying to catch a mackerel or three. Along with many others I join the annual festival of “feather chuckers” down on Chesil Beach. We line the shore casting out as far as we can, trying to wish the mackerel to go for our “feathers”, hoping for a full-house (one fish on each of 3, 4, or 6 hooks!). Some do use real feathers, but more often its bits of white plastic or shiny silver tinsel. The Mackerel think they are young fish and, we hope, get hooked.

Mackerel caught on a Dorset beach
Mackerel caught on a Dorset beach

There’s no denying mackerel are fantastic eating. There are so many ways to cook them. Simple can be best; pan-fried they are superb. At the right time of the year the forager can serve them with sauce made from gooseberries – foraged from the woods and hedgerows of course. A French friend did once tell me that the French for gooseberry was “sauce for mackerel”. Sorrel has a much longer season and makes another great sauce to go with your mackerel. In both cases the sharp flavours go so well with this oily fish.

Wild Gooseberries - smaller than their cultivated descendants, they can be pink or white. Some will be sweet enough to eat raw.
Wild Gooseberries – smaller than their cultivated descendants, they can be pink or white. Some will be sweet enough to eat raw.

There’s lots more ways. We like cooking them in foil parcels – stuffed with herbs, such as fennel (foraged again) or sage, with apple and cider, with white wine, or as Chinese parcels with soy sauce, carrot, leeks and ginger. You can even breadcrumb or batter them!

Another way of enjoying them is to hot-smoke them. This is not a preserving technique, like cold-smoking, but a different way of cooking them. Here are a few photos showing the process and kit.

Fillet the mackerel:

Mackerel fillets
Mackerel fillets

Sprinkle lots of salt over them and leave them for about half an hour before rinsing the salt off and drying them with kitchen towel.

Salting mackerel fillets for smoking
Salting the fillets

The smoker can be a metal biscuit tin (if you can still find one!) with holes in the ends, metal skewers through and a wire rack on top. A handful of hardwood sawdust is put in the bottom. Oak, Beech or a fruit (Cherry or Apple) are recommended. The tin won’t last for ever but does the job for a year or two.

Smoking fish with a biscuit tin.
Simple hot-smoking apparatus – a biscuit tin on a camping stove.

If you want something that will last longer, find an old enamel bread bin in a junk shop. Again drill some holes on the ends for your skewers/rods and the rack to sit on.

Enamle Bread Bin Smoker
An old enamel bread bin makes a great smoker (idea taken from The River Cottage Fish Book)

Put the mackerel fillets on the rack, put the lid on very loosely, set your watch and go and do something else for half an hour.

Mackerel fillets in
Mackerel fillets in

All being well, you come back to beautiful looking and amazing tasting smoked mackerel.

WP_20130724_014
The result – mouth-watering!

The fillets are great as they are, hot or cold. They can also used in dishes such as a risotto or frittata.

Smoked Mackerel Frittata
Smoked Mackerel Frittata with Sea Beet
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Seaweed foraging course group

Seaweed and Eat It! 5th June 2016

We were really lucky to have the sun and glorious blue skies without even a breath of wind for our seaweed foraging course “Seaweed and Eat It!” on the spectacular Dorset coast on Sunday. The first part of the day was spent on the shore taking advantage of the really low tide to find a good range of edible species. As well as learning about each and how to use it in the kitchen we talked about other issues such as sustainable harvesting.

A sea garden - so many colours, shapes and textures (and tastes!)
A sea garden – so many colours, shapes and textures (and tastes!)

 

Gathering Sea Grass / Gutweed
Gathering Sea Grass / Gutweed

At our indoor venue we split into groups with each preparing part of lunch:

 

The results of the morning seaweed forage
The results of the morning seaweed forage – left to right – back row Kelp, Sea Beet. Middle row – Sea Spaghetti, Sea Lettuce, Gutweed. Front row – Pepper Dulse, Spiral Wrack, Laver

 

Wild Miso Soup
Miso soup made from Dashi stock with Kelp. Wild ingredients – Ceps, Pepper Dulse, Sea Beet, Wild Garlic & Sea Lettuce

 

Sea (and "land"!) Spaghetti in tomato sauce (includes Spiral Wrack). Served with a mixed, dried seaweed condiment.
Sea (and “land”!) Spaghetti in tomato sauce (includes Spiral Wrack). Served with a mixed, dried seaweed condiment.

The Sea Spaghetti was declared “a revelation”.

Elderflower Panna Cotta - made with Carrageen seaweed.
Elderflower Panna Cotta – made with Carrageen seaweed. Fresh Elderflowers infused in the milk – AMAZING flavour.

Everyone had a great time, with lots of very positive feedback – words like lovely, delicious, fascinating, recommend, very enjoyable, excellent, great, informative and confident.

Thanks to those that joined us for making it a memorable day.

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The hen do group on the beach.

Sarah’s Hen Party – Foraging walk & meal

Hedgerow Harvest were delighted to run a coastal foraging event as part of Sarah’s hen-do weekend near Lymington in Hampshire. We started with a foraging walk along the shoreline finding a range of wild foods and gathering some of them to go into the three-course lunch.

Bespoke (private) foraging course hen do.
The hen party group out on their foraging walk.

 

On the edge of the salt marsh gathering Marsh Samphire and other wild vegetables.
On the edge of the salt marsh gathering Marsh Samphire and other wild vegetables.

 

Collecting Marsh Samphire
Collecting Marsh Samphire

 

Picking Sea Beet - great hat!
Picking Sea Beet – great hat!

 

Starter - Sea Beet soup with seaweed bread
Starter – Sea Beet soup with seaweed bread

 

Part of the main course - Tarts with St George's mushrooms, Wild Fennel, Three Cornered Leek, Marsh Samphire, Sea Purslane, Dulse and Crow Garlic
Part of the main course – Tarts with St George’s mushrooms, Wild Fennel, Three Cornered Leek, Marsh Samphire, Sea Purslane, Dulse and Crow Garlic

 

Main Course - above tart with Sea Beet and new potatoes topped with seaweed butter.
Main Course – above tart with Sea Beet and new potatoes topped with seaweed butter.

 

Dessert - Elderflower Panna Cotta made with seaweed (Carrageen)
Dessert – Elderflower Panna Cotta made with seaweed (Carrageen)

The organiser, who sadly she couldn’t make the weekend, said:
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for giving Sarah and her hens such a fantastic time on the walk yesterday. All the girls have said what a great time they had, how much they learnt and how brilliant you were. The lunch looked amazing and I hear it was equally as tasty! 

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Razor Clams

Seashore foraging

Thanks very much to the good people that joined us on our Seashore foraging walk on Saturday on the Dorset coast. They had a great time as we found:

  • A range of plants including delicious greens, expensive invaders and seriously DEADLY species.
  • A good number of types of edible seaweed.
  • Plenty of shellfish – both molluscs and crustaceans.

For most the highlights were the razor clams and the anticipation of what was in the pot – a remarkable 4 Shore crabs and 4 Spider crabs! Birthday-boy Mike got to take the razor clams home, and I had the Brown Shrimps and the biggest Spider Crab. Guess what I had for lunch today!

 

Razor clam
The salt is in the hole, water has bubbled up, the Razor clam starts to emerge, wait for it…

 

Razor Clams
Wait for it… you want a inch showing, then grab it between thumb and forefinger across the edges of the shell and pull…

 

Razor Clams
Cheer quietly or squeal with delight!!

 

Catching Razor Clams 1
More Razor Clams success.

 

Another Razor Clam
And another. I have to confiscate the salt after a while!

 

Cooked Razor Clams
Dinner for two
Glamorous assistant with the Shrimp net.
Glamorous assistant with the Shrimp net.

 

Spider Crab
Spider Crab

 

Cooked Spider Crab
Cooked Spider Crab

On the way home I picked some St George’s mushrooms which dried in the sun yesterday as did some Gutweed which the people on the course kindly gathered.

Drying St George's mushrooms
Drying St George’s mushrooms
Drying Gutweed (in the green house - a bit windy for outside!
Drying Gutweed (in the green house – a bit windy for outside!)

Yesterday, I hit the coast again and picked the below plus some Wild Rocket, Dulse and Carrageen.

Seashore basket - Alexanders, Fennel, Three-Cornered Leek, Sea Beet, Sea Purslane and Fairy Ring Champignon.
Seashore basket – Alexanders, Fennel, Three-Cornered Leek, Sea Beet, Sea Purslane and Fairy Ring Champignon.

Thanks to some of the course attendees for supplying photos.

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Wild Garlic buds and Sea Kale shoots

A bit of a pickle!

To foragers, generally if they think about preserving wild foods, the techniques and foods that come to mind are drying seaweeds and mushrooms, freezing wild fruit and making jams, jellies and drinks.  There are however other techniques that the forager can make use of and they include pickling and fermenting. This post looks at pickling wild food.

Think of pickling and onions or eggs are the obvious things, but as well as garden / allotment / smallholding produce you can pickle all sorts of wild foods as a way of preserving them for consuming throughout the year.

Wild Garlic buds and Sea Kale shoots
Wild Garlic buds and Sea Kale shoots

What to pickle

As often with foraging and cooking, your imagination is the limit. Among the things you can try are:

  • Buds – Wild Garlic, Elder, Dandelion, Alexanders or Ox-Eye Daisy
  • Stems – Reed mace hearts, Rock Samphire, Alexanders, Fennel, saltmarsh plants individually or collectively (Sea Aster, Marsh Samphire, Sea Purslane, Annual Seablite etc.)
  • Flowers –  Magnolia flowers, Scots Pine Flowers, Hawthorn blossom
  • Seeds –  Wild Garlic Seeds, Ash keys
  • Miscellaneous – Burdock roots,  mushrooms (including Chanterelles and Jelly Ears), seaweeds (including Carrageen and Kelp), Walnuts, Limpets, Cockles!

Pickle Recipes

Recipes for making these vary enormously – experiment or find your own favourite. Pickles are straightforward to make. Essentially, they contain the wild food you want to pickle, vinegar, spices, salt and sometimes, sugar.

  • Vinegars – go for any of cider, white wine, red wine, malt or pickling vinegar. Pickling vinegar is usually malt vinegar with the spices already added for convenience. The vinegar should have a minimum acidity level of 5%.
  • Spices – your call but there are some suggested combinations below. Also try any of fennel seeds, mixed herbs, juniper berries, garlic cloves, star anise etc. For an easy life (to avoid having to make decisions!) you can buy pickling spice ready-made!
    • Mild – cinnamon, cloves, mace, whole allspice berries, white peppercorns, bay
    • Medium – cinnamon, cloves, white peppercorns, dried root ginger, mace, whole allspice berries
    • Hot – mustard seeds, dried chillies, chilli flakes, cloves, black peppercorns, whole allspice berries
    • Sweet – sugar (brown for brown malt vinegar, white for white malt or wine vinegar), whole allspice berries, whole cloves, coriander seeds, root ginger, cinnamon stick, blades of mace, lemon rind

Rules
The two basic rules for successful pickling are:

  • Jars and lids should be sterilised (washed in very hot (but not boiling), soapy water, then dried in a cool oven).
  • Your ingredients should be in good condition – fresh.

Pickled Wild Garlic Buds
Ingredients:
 Wild Garlic Buds

Wild Garlic Buds
Wild Garlic Buds

 200 ml vinegar
 ½ tablespoon caster sugar
 1 teaspoon salt
 15 black peppercorns
 ½ teaspoon fennel seeds

Method:
1. Use only stainless steel, enamel, or non-stick pans.
2. Wash and dry the buds (tea towel, salad spinner, kitchen roll etc.)
3. Put the buds into the jar.

Wild garlic buds
Put the buds into jars

4. Put the vinegar, sugar, salt and spices into a saucepan.
5. Heat until the sugar dissolves.
6. Pour over the garlic buds.

Buds with vinegar plus peppercorns, fennel seeds, sugar and salt
Buds with vinegar plus peppercorns, fennel seeds, sugar and salt (the buds float a bit).

7. Ensure that the lids are airtight.
8. Label and date each jar.
9. Store in a cool, dry and preferably dark place.
10. The buds are ready to eat in 2 weeks to a month.
11. If you find the pickle too acidic you can add more sugar or dilute slightly until you are happy.

Pickled Sea Kale Shoots
Ingredients:
Sea Kale shoots

Sea Kale Shoots
Sea Kale Shoots

Vinegar
Salt / sea salt
Black Peppercorns
Sugar

1. Wash the Sea Kale shoots
2. Blanch them by dropping them in a pan of boiling salted water for no more than 30 seconds.
3. Cool immediately in cold water.
4. Drain and dry (tea towel, salad spinner, kitchen roll etc.)
5. Pack Kale into a jar.
6. Cover with vinegar, add a pinch of salt, some peppercorns and teaspoon of sugar.
7. Ensure that the lids are airtight.

Pickled Sea Kale Shoots
Pickled Sea Kale Shoots

8. Label and date each jar.
9. Store in a cool, dry and preferably dark place.

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Summer Foraging Video

This video shows some of the things the group on this year’s summer foraging course got up to. It includes underwater footage from the crabbing session and an Eel coming to the drop net. The Eel got put back as they are a protected species.

This course runs every summer (July) in West Dorset – it includes crabbing and plants of seashore, hedgerow and river. We gather ingredients for a three course wild-food based meal.

Many thanks to Ashley Thompson (@redchillisauce) for the video.

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