Foraging

There is something quite primal about foraging for food, particularly for your evening meal. Normally, I would resort to a quick trip to the local supermarket, which is usually less primal and more desperation, as I’ve generally lost track of the time at work and have failed to plan for our evening meal.  But, on this occasion, the sun was out over the weekend and on reading some article in a broadsheet, I was inspired!

I settled on pasta for dinner, adorned with, hopefully, a wild garlic pesto, accompanied with a few sliced jersey royals and fresh peas.  The perfect meal to celebrate the Spring season.  Jersey Royals, always evoke a feeling of complete satisfaction within me, as their taste is so full of earthy goodness which elevates an average meal to the realms of divine indulgence. Although their flavour can stand alone without any adornment, who doesn’t like to smother them in butter to extract every morsel of pleasure out of them?

I have been joyous since Spring arrived, life is so much more sparkly with the sun out, green trees and spring flowers adorning the verges all adds up to make the world seem a much brighter place.  And I know I’m not alone thinking like this, you only have to look around to see a “spring” in everyone’s step!

With swift organisation, I searched for images of wild garlic, as I didn’t want to be held responsible for poisoning myself or my husband, I took screen shots of these on my phone gand armed with a couple of cans of Pimms, a thermos of ice and a slice, we headed off into the Downs.

We had established that to locate the Wild Garlic we needed to head for ancient forests, with dappled shade, we needed to locate areas carpeted with Bluebells and hopefully, Wild Garlic with its pretty 6 petalled white flowers and long pointed green leaves, would be lurking somewhere close by. We drove to an area of woodland between Finchdean and West Marden in the South Downs and took off walking along one of the footpaths towards the dense woodland.  The scenery here, never fails to uplift me and is always a great location to avoid the crowds.  It wasn’t long before our endeavours were rewarded and carefully we picked a few handfuls of the leaves to carry home for dinner.

A word of caution here: – if you do fancy a little foraging yourselves, always protect the bulbs, it is against the law to dig up any plant in our great British Countryside, wild plants are protected under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.  Do forage for your own personal use, but leave enough of the plant to keep it healthy and for the next person who may happen to come along.

A happy couple of hours were spent soaking up the peace of the forest, we didn’t see another soul in all the time we were there and on returning to the car and in recognition of our efforts we sat and enjoyed a very pleasant Pimms and lemonade.  What better way to finish a walk in the Downs?

I am happy to report the wild garlic pesto was a resounding success, we managed to pick roughly 100g, about two handfuls and enough to provide a meal for 4.  For those who do fancy the idea of foraging, do your homework first, make sure you know exactly what you are picking and take a photo with you as a comparison. Another final top tip is that Wild Garlic leaves when rubbed do actually, produce a strong aroma of garlic!

Try any recipe you can find online or I’ve attached my version here..

Wild Garlic Pesto