Primrose Matheson – founder of Primrose’s Kitchen, the makers of raw veg muesli and granola – is a fan of a good forage.
But have a read of some of the advice she shares and tips for what to pick before you go running off into the countryside armed with tupperware and gloves…
“Having grown up on the island of Guernsey I spent my childhood scrabbling over rocks to go shrimping and ormering at low tides or scouring the beaches for polished glass and little yellow periwinkles, it seems to me that the world of foraging has always been close to my heart!
I have foraged on the beaches in Guernsey for things like sea lettuce (Ulva), a green algae that can be added to broths or dried as a snack as well as sea beet often called wild spinach.
I’ve spent time in beautiful Holkham, Norfolk and also on the Sussex coast picking samphire which is one of my favourite sea vegetables, delicious steamed with a simple dressing as a starter like asparagus.
In Dorset I have stayed in-land picking my favourite horse mushrooms (Agaricus Arvensis) as well as looking for more easily recognizable plants like Elderberry, Nettles, Cleavers, wood sorrel and blackberries.
Elderberry trees are wonderful as not only can you make delicious cordials in the summer months when they are flowering you can also make wonderful chest tonics from their berries in the winter months.
Nettles, often described as weeds, are a powerful anti-inflammatory and cleanser for the liver and the young leaves can be made into soups, pesto’s and infused for teas.
Cleavers otherwise known as “sticky willy” or “goose grass” are a fantastic blood cleanser and is great for thickening stews. You will notice it by the way it sticks to your clothing as you walk past it!
Wood sorrel, distinguished by its clover like, 3 heart shaped leaves, is found in shady locations and makes a decorative addition to salads with its distinctive lemony taste.
Blackberries growing in the autumn are a rich source of Vitamin C. Nature in its wisdom provides them for us at this time to stock up our reserves before the cold winter days set in…”
Primrose’s General Advice:
- When foraging stay away from busy roads or areas where dogs can get to so that your foraged plants are free as far as possible from pollution or contamination.
- Do not eat anything you cannot positively identify and deem safe
- Forage after a rainfall means the plants are more lush and clean and if you are removing roots easier to remove.
- Take a small sharp flick knife with you so as not to tear the stems of the plants. Always forage sustainably by leaving some behind in order for it to continue to be there each year.
Stock up on Primrose’s Kitchen goodies at Wholefoods, Planet organic, Waitrose, Holland Barrett, Booths and online.
Editor’s tip: a Hicks and Brown fedora is a great accessory for a day foraging in the woods…