Take a Walk on the Wild Food Side

17th July, 2015 | Article By Food Adventure

Walking is a great way to discover Wales but if you want to add some spice to your walk, why not go on a foraging outing? Foraging is a great way to go on a guided walk, discover great places to walk on and off the beaten track, meet people and learn all about the flora, fauna and even culture of Wales.

There are different wild foods during different seasons and in different habitats so wherever you go in Wales, you will have a great foraging experience.

You might think that foraging is limited to the countryside and yet in Cardiff or any other city or urban area in Wales, you can find foraging walks in parks too. In the countryside, you will find many foraging walks in a variety of beautiful Welsh environments: on the coast, along river banks, in fields, in the woods and in meadows.

It really is tremendous fun finding all sorts of different things in different habitats throughout the seasons:

Spring foraging is really exciting as the first of the abundance of wild food appears after a long winter. In the spring, look for wild garlic, nettles, cleavers, dandelions, sorrel, red clover, and elderflower to name a few. On the coast? Look for sea kale!

What to do with your finds? How about making a wild garlic pesto. Simply place 60g of wild garlic in a food processor along with 60g of parsley, 30g of toasted walnuts or pine nuts, 40g of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and salt and paper to taste. Blitz for a few seconds and then continue to blitz while slowly adding 80ml of olive oil until blended.

Red clover flowers look and taste lovely in a fresh green salad. Make sure you give the flowers a good shake before eating them to rid the flowers of any tiny insects.

Elderflowers make a beautiful cordial. You can then use the cordial to make a cook refreshing drink by mixing with some soda water or use the cordial as flavouring for elderflower sorbet.

In the summer look for flowers and vegetables such as sea radishes, horseradish, charlock flowers, Rosa Canina (Dog Rose) and mallow.

Coastal foraging is great in summer and autumn! If you have access to the coast, why not spend a day on the beach foraging for winkles, whelks, mussels, cockles and razor clams! Or discover nature’s super food, sea weed such. On Welsh shores you can find gut weed, kelp, dulse to name a few and of course the Welsh national treasure: laver. Laver can be substituted for spinach in dishes like Eggs Florentine or you can make a traditional Welsh dish with it: laver, cockles and bacon or laver oat cakes. To prepare laver, wash it thoroughly to get rid of any sand. Give it a rough chop and then place in a large pot covering with water. Simmer very gently until tender. Strain away any excess liquid. You can then use it for Eggs Florentine or the traditional Welsh dishes mentioned above.

Autumn is a great time to forage for berries and nuts. Blackberries ripen at the end of August, so are ready for picking late summer early autumn. Also look out for rowan berries, rose hips, elderberries and hawthorn berries. There are so many things to do with berries! You can make jams, wine, and vinegars. Blackberries of course make a delicious crumble. How about making some blackberry brandy, gin or vodka for a special Christmas gift? For every 70cl bottle of brandy or gin or vodka, you’ll need about 320g of blackberries and 160g of sugar. Simply put all of the ingredients into a sterilised jar with a lid and give it a shake to mix all the ingredients. Let it infuse for 3 months and then strain.

You can even forage for wild food in the winter. You can find some varieties of mushrooms as well as ground elder, nettles and other greens.

If you are interested in foraging in Wales have a look at our website, www.foodadventure.co.uk we offer a variety of foraging walks with meals featuring wild food throughout the year all over Wales or we can organise a bespoke foraging day just for you!

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