My 2011 Wild Food Year
Here is a quick romp through my wild food and wild places year in pictures.
…as did these velvet shank – tastier than they look!
Wood sorrel keeps giving all winter…
…as do basal rosettes of cow parseley.
It is always a joy to see the first fronds of wild garlic - at their tastiest in March too.
Most exciting of all are the first succulent purple shoots of sea kale.
Bittercress, ground elder, gorse buds and sea radish make for the best salad of the year.
We sailed to Rhum for high camp R&R in the Cuillin.
Back in Galloway we made the most of fantastic spring shoots and shellfish – before the summer ‘off’ season
Married or not, I resumed my love affair with sea kale.
Spring tarts were on the menu. Left – goats cheese, ramsons and tomato, Right – watercress, nettle and parmesan.
And I made reedmace flour for lightweight carbs on high camping trips.
Three days of freakish cold, salty gales ‘scorched’ coastal trees and vegetation. There would be a knock-on effect for mycorhizal fungi.
Elderflower champagne means summer.
I tested out my ‘ex coalman’s back’ on the samphire beds of Wigtown Bay.
I took some ecologists on a fungi foray in Abernethy forest. We found rare tooth fungi like this ‘bleeding’ Devil’s Tooth fungi and one new to science, which I have unofficially christened capercaillie mushroom, after one of these rare, iconic birds flew directly over us as we found it. It looks like their tail feathers too, but as I was too busy being excited, we only have one poor photo:
My ‘mile-high wild-pie’ recipe continued to evolve – a spectacular way of combining all manner of wild ingredients
The short, sharp cep season arrived bang on cue. Plenty of willing helpers!
As always, ceps took the gastronomic honours: L to R – Raw with parmesan and scots lovage, cep and Kilnford bacon tart, ultimate mushroom risotto.
Woodland species had a reasonable but short season, most bolete and russula species were finished by the end of September.
Fortunately, there were still plenty of other gourmet mushrooms about – like these hedgehog mushrooms (stumbled on without a basket!)
…including the bizzare and fairly rare jelly tongue.
That’s my wild food and places year, and I hope 2012 will bring as much great wild food and discovery! I plan to fill in some gaps in my home brewing and seaweed knowledge (got some great new books for that) and forage at least one truffle or native oyster. A trip to the Yukon in the spring should bring morels and big mountains.
I am planning an expanded calendar of events for 2012 (more details soon – I promise!) including slide presentations to keep people tuned in during the less fruitful months for foraging.
Thanks for visiting the site, coming to my events or following me on Twitter!
Happy foraging for the year ahead.