One thing I need to tell you right now is this – if you are going to go foraging for stinging nettles do not wear sandals. The other thing I need to tell you is if you want to go foraging for stinging nettles you may have to wait until the spring of 2019.
Which leads me to the point of this month’s post. Procrastination is not your friend if you want to forage.
I have been known to procrastinate, especially when it comes to anything I would categorize outside of “work”. This spring I enrolled in a year-long course designed by local Natalie Rousseau called 13 Moons -and I have been learning about foraging and “kitchen witching”. The recipes are so inspiring, and I am excited about deepening my connection to the land and the seasons by incorporating more native plants into my diet.
So far, I have been able to get out there for two stinging nettle harvests and one elderflower harvest. The nettles were steeped into teas and blended into smoothies that I believe have drastically reduced my usual hell storm of hay fever symptoms. The elderflower blossoms were infused into a delightful cordial that has been mixed with Pemberton Distillery gin and soda for drinks on the deck with friends, prosecco for an elegant cocktail at a Mother’s Day gathering and sparkling water for a refreshing lunchtime drink…all with delicious results!
I was hoping to get dandelions and lilacs for more cordials and tea infusions but fear I may have missed my opportunity…but maybe I can gather some this weekend? And therein lies the problem, the native plant does not wait for the procrastinator. It may be best to pin my hopes on the next round of edibles on my list – wild roses. I plan to use the petals to make a herbal honey, to infuse with oil for skincare, and to dry for tea blends.
If you go out foraging:
- Be sustainable and ethical – don’t overharvest or strip entire plants. Try to harvest small amounts from numerous plants so your forage doesn’t harm the plant and leaves plenty of food for the insects and animals that rely on it for a food source. Always make sure you are prepared to process your harvest properly so it doesn’t go to waste.
- Be safe – it is always good to cross-reference a couple of resource books and if possible, learn from a real life person who has been wildcrafting or foraging for a long time. Thanks to Dawn Johnson for taking me out on an elderflower adventure!
- Learn more about Wildcrafting and Foraging from 7song.com (thanks to Natalie Rousseau for sharing this great resource!)