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The flavoursome and versatile dandelion!

The flavoursome and versatile dandelion!

This flower can brighten you up just by looking at it! The dandelion is a bursting, bright coloured flower with lots of uses. You can drink dandylion coffee, I am not a fan myself, but I love the leaves in salads – ideally with a few yellow petals too.

When foraging for dandelions always remember to search on the fields and areas away from cars and pesticides.

Did you know that the dandelion has a self preservation ‘mechanism’ which occurs if you pick one out of the ground?  Not long after being picked, the flower head closes in on itself and protects the yellow leaves inside – amazing stuff!

If you are thinking of growing your own dandelions for salads and other recipes, the best tip is to nip the heads off so all that extra strength can go into the leaves and the root.

Here are a few further tips on how to make the most out of dandelion:

1. Dandelion Wine – A brilliant, yellow coloured, and fun beverage! I’ve never tried it myself but I would be intruiged to hear any feedback or a good recipe?

2. Salads – I like dandelion with smoky, hot snippets of bacon and roasted cherry tomatoes with a few crispy croutons.

3. Deep fried beignets – dandelion is a great accompaniment with the beignets along with foraged wild garlic flowers.

Why not pick a few leaves and flowers of this very medicinal plant and make yourself feel a whole lot better. Not only is this plant a bright beauty it is also carries a lot of health benefits. It works wonders for a tickly throat and according to Jekka McVicar, author of The Complete Herb Book, the humble dandelion stalks can even help to relieve and reduce:

  • cholesterol
  • liver and kidney disorders
  • diabetes
  • acne
  • amenia

It also helps in maintaining bone health, skin care and weight loss. Dandelion, which literally translates into “lion’s tooth” in French, is rich in vitamin-A, C, iron, calcium and detoxifiers which explains its use in medicines.

So pick away and enjoy, or I suppose if you want to cheat you could always drink Dandelion and Burdock!

Steph x

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Wow, can you believe it is the 100th entry on The Wild Cooks’ Blog?

To celebrate this momentous milestone, here is a quick, easy and fun way to pack a forager’s punch into a bowl of springtime pasta. This meal is quick, vibrant, wild and an understated tasty dish!

Knaresborough is a small market town only a few miles from Rudding Park.  Down by the river there is an abundance of  nettles, ground ivy, dandelion, sticky weed and wild garlic and I also managed to source hawthorn “bread and cheese” leaves which will add a sharp twist to our springtime spirals of pasta.

I went for a walk (avoiding the paths less travelled by our four legged friends!) and look what I came up with… 

Searching for my ingredients

Searching for my ingredients

 

Me picking the wild garlic

Me picking the wild garlic

So, hot footing it back to the kitchen and a ½ hour of cooking produced a simple, lovely, springtime meal.

Lots of wild food finds!

Lots of wild food finds!

Foraged finds and tips:

Nettles – ouch! Remember they still have their sting until cooked!
Wild garlic
Hawthorn leaves (otherwise known as ‘bread and cheese’)
Sticky weed (known as Goose Grass – remember as a kid throwing it on your friends’ jumpers and watching it stick!)
Dandelion
Ground ivy (this is not to be mixed up with ivy which is not edible – look for the tiny purple flowers and the hoof like leaves for ground ivy)

"Bread and Cheese" - Hawthorn Leaves
“Bread and Cheese” – Hawthorn Leaves

Please have a look at our recipe.

Wild food is brilliant fun – always remember to make sure you know what you are picking, some wild food can be dangerous to eat.

Happy Foraging!

Steph x 

Foraged Pasta Delight!

Foraged Pasta Delight!

 
 

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