Friday, 6 May 2011

Foraging in Greenwich

This past year I've been trying to grow herbs in my garden. I also wanted to plant garlic and onion - not to eat but to keep the cats off. However, I never got round to it.
The bayleaf is growing fantastically in a pot. It suffered some major snow damage but with some pruning, it's bounced back brilliantly.
The thyme less so - it's gone very dry looking and we miss being able to run our fingers through the soft leaves and getting that gorgeous smell on our hands.
On the kitchen window sill, I’ve done well with basil though it went rather yellow when we were away and it was water-starved. But for a supermarket buy, it’s not bad.
In addition, my MIL gave me a weird looking indoor herb pot which didn’t produce anything for ages, then all of a sudden young coriander sprouted. Of all herbs, this one would be most useful as I love to add it as a garnish to my food. I’ve also managed to grow chives indoors but may ditch those as they seem to attract little insects.
Another success seems to be nigella seeds which have sprouted well. I’ll have to learn how to harvest the actual seeds though.
Thing is, I’ve not gotten around to eaten any of the stuff – a bit to do with my aversion to dirt (OCD, me????)
I’m growing some Sambucus in my garden and hope in years to come it will produce some great Elderberries (alas, I won’t enjoy them but maybe our tenants will).
And of course, in Plumstead there are PLUM trees. I received a great batch of fruit from my friend last year as well as some lovely apples (made great apple pickle).
However, as my family and I wandered around Oxleas Wood yesterday afternoon, I got to thinking about foraging. I’ve been reading about wild garlic recipes and was annoyed that I wouldn’t know how to recognise it if it hit me in the face.
I like going into the Secret Garden in the woods which often has things edible looking in autumn. Some guidance is needed to ensure I don't pick poisonous food. I wonder if the park rangers point out edibles on their tours.
Luckily, there is foraging advice on the London Forager site. It seems a work in progress as some of the recipes aren’t finished off but hey – it’s a place to start. Or you could try Fergus the Forager who does foraging courses (love the name, wonder which came first name or profession).Mind you, all this foraging stuff is fine but rest assured, as a determined OCD-ish vegie, I'll be staying away from roadkill though or freeganning (looking for food in dumpsters).
P.S. if you don't want the fruit for free, you can always try going to a pick-your-own farm

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