Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Discussion forum for the United Kingdom ZS chapter

Moderator: ZS Chapter Volunteers

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Edible British Plants and Foraging for Food

Post by Brash » Wed Oct 17, 2007 5:08 pm

I haven't contributed anything to the community in a while so I thought I'd make myself useful. I'm going to do several posts on common edible plants found in the UK. How to gather them and how to prepare them. Just in case you get hungry. :wink:
Image

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Wed Oct 17, 2007 5:09 pm

Pignut.

Image

You might not recognise the name but I bet you recognise the picture. I was a bit shocked when I found out this plant was edible because I see them everywhere. Even in the city I know where to find them. I just thought they were a weed. They're not though and were once quite a popular childrens snack. Pigs like to root for them too, hence the name.

The edible part is a tuber at the end of a long root that has to be dug up carefully. Yanking on the stem snaps the root and leaves the tuber in the ground. A sort of evolutionary self defense from hungry children I guess.

Image

The 'nut' can be washed off and eaten raw. It has a nutty and somewhat peppery taste, so it can be used to add flavour to other dishes. I've also heard that it can be peeled and boiled to add to a broth. I might try that myself actually.
Image

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Wed Oct 17, 2007 5:26 pm

Nettles.

Image

The common stinging nettle. You all know what these are. If you don't and you want to find some walk through any shady wooded area, pathway or roadside whilst wearing shorts. You'll find them.

We're only after new shoots or young plants. Older plants are bitter, but can still be eaten if you're starving. Use work gloves to pick the plants unless you like getting stung. You can pick them without gloves though, it just takes a bit of quite painful practice. Sweep up and grab the plant near the base. Done correctly you'll sweep all the upward pointing needles flat and not get stung. Thats the theory anyway.

To prepare you just wash the shoots clean and boil in a pot in just enough water to cover them. They come out like spinach and are quite tasty. Boiling destroys the sting so don't worry. It's quite safe to eat.

A nifty byproduct of cooking the nettles is nettle tea to go with your meal. Once you've boiled the shoots drain off the now green water and serve with sugar and lemon if you have it. If you leave the shoots in to long though the taste will be bitter, although some folks like that.
Image

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Wed Oct 17, 2007 5:49 pm

Japanese Knotweed.

Image

Yes the dreaded knotweed. Raised on the side of a japanese volcano this little bugger grew up tough. Known to grow stright through tarmac, concrete and even the middle of a house one time. It takes several years of mans best efforts to finally kill this plant and even 2cm left alive will continue to regrow. Good news for us though because it means an abundent, resilient and fast growing food source.

Again we're after the young shoots of this plant. They're cooked just like asparagus. That is boiled, steamed, stir fryed or grilled and served with melted butter or cheese. The shoots can also be sliced up, boiled with sugar and used as a sweet pie filling that goes well with apples. Half the forum just cheered. :lol:
Image

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:14 pm

Dandelion.

Image

I guarantee you have these in your garden. Even if you don't want them. A humble, hated little weed that is actually quite useful. Also this is one of the few exceptions to the rule that you should never eat a plant with milky sap. Apparently all parts of this plant are edible but I know from experience that the stems are usually bitter and foul.

The leaves of the dandelion can be eaten raw or boiled and are best early in the year. Spring or early summer. Traditionally served with boiled eggs. The root is served boiled and is better in autumn. The root can also be roasted and ground up to produce a coffee substitute. Bit of a warning though, dandelions are a diuretic. Let a kid eat to many and they'll piss the bed.
Image

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:30 pm

Rosehips.

Image

I have to admit this is my favourite so far. My grandmother makes rosehip jam that is simply the best thing I have ever tasted. PM me if you know where I can buy any. Rosehips are important sources of vitamin C which hang around well into winter when such sources are rare indeed. Handy then that rosehips contain fifty times the amount of vitamin C found in lemons.

These things are easy to prepare. Pull the fruit off the plant, cut in half with a knife, scrape out the hairy seed and eat.
Image

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:42 pm

Beefsteak Fungus.

Image

Sometimes called oak tongue because it grows on oak trees and looks like a tongue. This fungus looks like a slab of meat and is often used as a substitute for beef. It even cuts like raw meat and bleeds red juice.

Found as the name suggests mostly on oak trees it's most common during autumn. Dice it up, stick it on a skewer with some tomatoes and onions and have a kebab. Bonus points if you find some potatoes and manage to have a kebab and chips in the arse end of no where. :D
Image

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Wed Oct 17, 2007 7:00 pm

Chicken Of The Woods.

Image

A quick warning, some people may be allergic to this fungus. Only try a little your first time. That said there is some good news. This stuff is really easy to find and identify. Mostly because it's huge and bright frickin' yellow with orange highlights. Nothing else looks quite like it so it's pretty safe to eat as long as it's not growing on any connifer tree. Pine or Fir trees for example. Luckily it favours oak. More good news, when you find it chicken of the woods often produces a lot of food. Like twenty pounds of meat or more.

To cook it just slice it thinly and cook it like chicken. It tastes just like chicken cooked with lemon juice. It's a delicacy and would go quite nicely with a salad of some of the plants mentioned earlier. Or, as with beefsteak fungus you could use it to make a kebab.
Image

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Wed Oct 17, 2007 7:12 pm

Pine Needles.

Image

Another great way of getting vitamin C during the winter, as well as making a warm drink to get rid of the chill. Pine needle tea.
Take the newest, greenest needles and chop them up. Allow to steep in hot but not boiling water and serve with sugar or honey added to taste. Older needles or steeping your tea for to long will produce a bitter flavour. As will using to little water but you'll get to judge that with a little experience.
Image

User avatar
L1Z4RD
* * * * *
Posts: 3214
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:03 am
Location: McAllen, Texas
Contact:

Post by L1Z4RD » Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:09 pm

Nice write up, Brash.
ImageImage

HK33K, R.I.P.
Jeriah, R.I.P.
Xbox Live Gamertag: XxL1Z4RDxX
Regular Guy wrote:Lizard looks like he can bend steel by looking at it.

User avatar
Ad'lan
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 5687
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:45 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Shawn of the Dead
Rabid (1977)
Location: Hampshire

Post by Ad'lan » Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:59 am

Very nice, but You've gone and forgot quite a few.

Hawthorn
Image

Related to apples, also known as the may Tree, flowers around then, and then keeps it's fruits continiously around the year. They are small and red, with a large stone and an aquired taste, but chock full of vitamin and plenty of minerals.

Great Reed mace, Bull Rush or Cattail

Image

Found at the waters edge in rivers broads, fens and ponds, the root can be dug up, and eaten, raw or cooked (it's better cooked, baked or roasted). Full of starch.


Do you think we should bother doing one for the semi feral ones? Strawberry, Blackberry, Sloe, GreenGage, Crabapple?
My Guide to making your own Bowstring
My Guide to making your own Flint Arrowheads
My Guide to Fletching
My Guide to Primitive Fletching
Cymro wrote:Seriously, I'm not sure I'd fuck with Ad'lan if he had his bow with him. I just don't see that ending well.
Please Check out my PAW Story, Fagin

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:06 am

Ad'lan wrote:Do you think we should bother doing one for the semi feral ones? Strawberry, Blackberry, Sloe, GreenGage, Crabapple?
Yes I do, because sloe gin and crabapple pie is delicious. :D
Ad'lan wrote:Very nice, but You've gone and forgot quite a few.
I'm going to try and add one new plant a day to this thing until I run out of plants that I know. Shouldn't take long. :lol:
Image

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:29 am

Laver.

Image

I'm Welsh so I have to do this one. It's a traditional dish. Laver seaweed is a thin membranous sea weed that grows on rocks. It ranges from green to brown depending on species and is commonly found and cultivated all over Wales and Scotland.

Gather it up between tides from early spring onwards. It's not to common during winter. Wash it off in clean water and then boil for several hours until it turns to mush. When it cools pop it in a jar and it will keep for about a week. It can then be eaten cold as a salad with lamb or heated and served with melted butter, bacon and lemon juice.

Laver can also be made into Laverbread. A traditional Welsh breakfast and delicacy. Roll the boiled laver in oatmeal and fry it. Serve it up with Bacon and cockles for breakfast. You don't get any more welsh than that. :D
Image

User avatar
Czechnology
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 9341
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 10:50 pm
Location: PDX-ish

Post by Czechnology » Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:06 am

Brash wrote: You don't get any more welsh than that. :D
Well, you could but it would require a lot more double L's and interesting consonant combinations. :)
Nothing is ever what it seems, but everything is exactly what it is.
Vicarious_Lee wrote:If Nutnfacny were an 8-ounce chicken fried steak, he'd come with 72 ounces of batter around it that you have to slash through to get to it.

Cymro
* * * * *
Posts: 3382
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:42 am
Location: Fayetteville Refugee currently bunkered in Wilmington, NC, USA
Contact:

Post by Cymro » Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:01 pm

czechnology wrote:
Brash wrote: You don't get any more welsh than that. :D
Well, you could but it would require a lot more double L's and interesting consonant combinations. :)
And it would run the dangerously close to involving a sheep at some point.

In all seriousness, awesome writeup.
"Young men, beware of murder. It may lead to theft and, from there, to telling lies."
Alphonse Allais

Standing invite to all ZSers: If you're ever down Carolina way, the first round's on me.

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:06 pm

Jack-by-the-hedge.

Image

I actually know this plant by another name, Sauce-alone, but Jack-by-the-hedge is more common. As is the name Garlic mustard. It's commonly found growing in hedgerows and shaded woodland, hence the name. In spring it has small white cross shaped flowers. To identify this plant just pick a leaf and crush it. It will smell strongly of garlic, and thats what we use it for. It's a seasoning for salads and meat. You'll only need a few leaves though unless you love garlic. It's strong enough to be overpowering.
Image

User avatar
L1Z4RD
* * * * *
Posts: 3214
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:03 am
Location: McAllen, Texas
Contact:

Post by L1Z4RD » Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:08 pm

Wow, this thread straightened right the fuck out. Good job.
ImageImage

HK33K, R.I.P.
Jeriah, R.I.P.
Xbox Live Gamertag: XxL1Z4RDxX
Regular Guy wrote:Lizard looks like he can bend steel by looking at it.

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:08 am

Thistle.

Image

A small prickly and very easily identified plant that is most often found whilst running around barefoot. Whilst these smaller, sneakier, plants are edible we're after the bigger ones because they are more worth the effort and the stings.

The root can be dug up and eaten raw or cooked like a potato. It apparently taste just like potato, but I've never tried it. You can slice it and boil it to add body to a soup or stew or you could fry it. Remember what I said earlier about kebab and chips?
Image

User avatar
Czechnology
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 9341
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 10:50 pm
Location: PDX-ish

Post by Czechnology » Fri Oct 19, 2007 10:17 am

Brash wrote:Jack-by-the-hedge.

Image

I actually know this plant by another name, Sauce-alone, but Jack-by-the-hedge is more common. As is the name Garlic mustard. It's commonly found growing in hedgerows and shaded woodland, hence the name. In spring it has small white cross shaped flowers. To identify this plant just pick a leaf and crush it. It will smell strongly of garlic, and thats what we use it for. It's a seasoning for salads and meat. You'll only need a few leaves though unless you love garlic. It's strong enough to be overpowering.
Awesome work Brash. I'll have to see if I can find some of that, as my wife (that still sounds weird.) is allergic to real garlic and I've been suffering without it. How close does it really taste?

Edit: Wow. I did a bit of research and it looks like sale of Alliaria petiolata (Jack by the hedge) seeds are banned in many states as it's an invasive species and hurts the growth of some native N. American Trees. Maybe I should just look in my backyard.
Nothing is ever what it seems, but everything is exactly what it is.
Vicarious_Lee wrote:If Nutnfacny were an 8-ounce chicken fried steak, he'd come with 72 ounces of batter around it that you have to slash through to get to it.

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:18 pm

Burdock.

Image

A close relative of the thistle, even it's flowers look distinctly like thistles. The burdock however can grow to be two meters tall and have a meter long root. It's leaves are heart shaped and wooly underneath.

Again we're after the root and this plant has a huge one. It's a meal unto itself. Dig it up, peel the rind and cook like a potato. This root really can be sliced into thin sticks and made into chips. :D
Image

User avatar
Hudson
* * *
Posts: 634
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 5:51 pm
Location: Hartlepool

Post by Hudson » Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:27 pm

Brash; ever considered doing a weekend with Wild Food School?

Maybe we should get a group of us organised after the Cambridge meet; as a gentle intro sort of thing?

http://www.countrylovers.co.uk/wfs/index.htm

User avatar
Towanda
* * * * *
Posts: 3684
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:02 am
Location: Ypsilanti, MI

Post by Towanda » Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:29 pm

Nice writeup, Brash and Ad'lan.

That Japanese knotweed looks like what we call kudzu over here. It's the weed that's eating the South.
Holding a grudge is like swallowing poison and expecting someone else to die.

Image
SMoAF wrote:You could have your very own Trunk SMoAF. That'd HAVE to have some practical value for you.

User avatar
Brash
* * * * *
Posts: 6058
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:49 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: NOTLD, Dawn of the Dead (Original), Shaun of the Dead, Wild Zero, Special Dead.
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Post by Brash » Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:33 pm

Hudson, I'd be very interested in something like that. We'll have a chat at the meet up and see if anyone else fancies it. :)

Towanda, I believe it's the same thing. Although if it's eating the south just eat the damn stuff right back. :lol:
Image

User avatar
Czechnology
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 9341
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 10:50 pm
Location: PDX-ish

Post by Czechnology » Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:44 pm

Brash wrote:Burdock.

Image

A close relative of the thistle, even it's flowers look distinctly like thistles. The burdock however can grow to be two meters tall and have a meter long root. It's leaves are heart shaped and wooly underneath.

Again we're after the root and this plant has a huge one. It's a meal unto itself. Dig it up, peel the rind and cook like a potato. This root really can be sliced into thin sticks and made into chips. :D
Burdock root is gaining popularity in the US due to Japanese food being so in fashion. It's pretty good if you do it right.
Nothing is ever what it seems, but everything is exactly what it is.
Vicarious_Lee wrote:If Nutnfacny were an 8-ounce chicken fried steak, he'd come with 72 ounces of batter around it that you have to slash through to get to it.

Post Reply

Return to “INACTIVE - ZSC:010”