These are visually stunning mushrooms and almost as good gastronomically, made all the more special by their relative scarcity – I seldom find more than a handful a year. You don’t need to find many though – they can grow very large.
It can feel like finding the mythical pot of gold at the end of a rainbow when you come across a cluster of these beautiful mushrooms on a shady woodland floor. They are the most widely commercially harvested wild fungi in Scotland, loving our damp, mild climate and extensive birch and beech woodlands and are highly esteemed by chefs.
Watercress is a delicious peppery salad vegetable, but unfortunately it is prone to infestation by the cyst stage of a parasite (fasciola hepatica) when growing in land containing livestock…
Elderflowers are one of natures finest edible treasures and for me, the signature wild food of early summer. In autumn elder berries offer quite different, but equally rich delights for hedgerow preservers.
I have a love-hate relationship with marsh samphire. Mostly its love – the wide open seascapes where it thrives, its odd cactus-like appearance and its wonderful salty-fresh succulence. Even the silty, squelchy estuarine habitat where it grows has a “mud-glorious-mud” gooeyness that appeals to the filthy schoolboy in me.